Fantasy football Week 4 recap and top waiver wire picks

There were some huge performances in Week 4 of the fantasy football season, but the biggest disappointments were the handful of major injuries that marked this week.

Of course, the biggest news of the week has to be the torn ACL of Dalvin Cook. The exceptional rookie burst through the line of scrimmage for a nice gain before he crumbled to the ground and grabbed his knee as he fumbled. He had already rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown before his third-quarter injury.

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Detroit Lions strong safety Tavon Wilson (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Minneapolis. Cook was injured on the play. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Latavius Murray will be pressed into action for Minnesota, but he won’t be nearly as productive as Cook has been. Still, if he’s available in your league, pick him up.

Another rookie highlighted the week for a good reason. Deshaun Watson became just the third rookie in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes and rush for another. He’s a great option to stream at quarterback if you’re a Matt Ryan, Drew Brees or Kirk Cousins owner. All three are on bye next week.

Watson’s best target on the day was DeAndre Hopkins. He caught 10 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Speaking of Ryan, he had one heck of a dud performance against the Bills. He turned the ball over three times and lost Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu to injury during the contest. With the Falcons off next week, those two should make it back healthy in Week 6.

Someone who started the season struggling but has found a bit of a groove is Andy Dalton. He finally looked decent last week with a new offensive coordinator and had a great game this week against the Browns. That Cleveland defense was just what the doctor ordered. Dalton finished with 286 yards and four touchdown passes.

One of Dalton’s touchdowns went to A.J. Green, who is starting to play well for fantasy owners.

A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images)

Other wideouts that shined were Tyrell Williams, Devin Funchess and Michael Thomas. Williams, alongside Keenan Allen, finally looked like a solid duo Philip Rivers could rely on. They both gained over 100 yards receiving and Williams scored. Funchess scored twice to go with 70 yards as his teammate Kelvin Benjamin went over 100 yards receiving. Thomas caught eight passes and scored as he remains a player with a high floor.

Someone with a low floor, but great upside is rookie running back Alvin Kamara who’s also on the Saints. He’s getting more touches as Adrian Peterson seems to be the odd man out in New Orleans. Kamara rushed five times for 25 yards, but where he makes his money is in the passing game. He caught a whopping 10 passes for 71 yards and scored.

Among the best rushers this week were Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. Bell looked like himself against the Ravens, rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Gurley and Elliot played exceptionally well in the same game. Gurley rushed for 121 yards and caught seven passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Elliott had a rushing and a receiving touchdown.

Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath (38) attempts to stop a leaping Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) as Gurley carries the ball in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Lamar Miller was also great, totaling 121 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ offensive explosion.

Bilal Powell finally showed up, with Matt Forte out, and rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown against a Jaguars defense that looked great last week. Jacksonville was awful defensively as they even allowed Elijah McGuire to rush for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Speaking of bad defense, it’s time to start worrying about the Patriots. When Cam Newton, who struggled against the Saints, can throw for three touchdowns and run for a fourth, it’s time to reevaluate the defensive strategy.

Staying with the Saints defense, I have to give them credit after picking on them a lot this season. They pitched a shutout against the Dolphins in London Sunday. Don’t get too confident in them, however, since that game was played in a unique situation. Let’s see them play well stateside before you pick them up.

One of the most disappointing receivers this week had to be Sammy Watkins, who blew a good matchup with the Cowboys by catching one pass for 17 yards. Demaryius Thomas also had a rough day with just one catch. It was his worst game so far this season. Amari Cooper suffered his seventh drop already this season in that game against Denver. He severely disappointed even with Michael Crabtree sidelined.

As for the running backs, Terrance West had back-to-back 0-point games and Marshawn Lynch has scored practically nothing for the second week in a row.

Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos during a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Chris Thompson finally came back down to earth after a tremendous run. He had seven touches for just 24 yards and lost a fumble on Monday night.

A running back that was supposed to finally have a breakout performance was Joe Mixon. He managed just 48 total yards on 21 touches.

In Sunday night’s matchup, Chris Carson was carted off in an air cast, a very unfortunate turn of events for the surprise find.

Don’t worry too much, there’s a lot on the waiver wire this week.

But before we get to that. I have to, just this once, talk about a kicker. Have to give kudos to Greg “the leg” Zuerlein who hit seven field goals, including a long of 49 yards against the Cowboys. He won the week for some owners.

Top waiver wire picks

Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: 283 yards passing, 5 total TDs

Will Fuller, WR, Texans: Strike while the iron is hot. He scored twice in his season debut and the Texans offense is heating up.

Jaron Brown, WR, Cardinals: The struggles of John Brown make Jaron Brown valuable. He’s scored well in three straight games.

Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Still owned in less than 40 percent of CBS leagues. 255 yards, 2 TDs

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers: Ty Montgomery may miss Week 5 and Jones did well in relief on Thursday.

Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals: He led the Cardinals in receptions and totaled over 100 yards of offense.

J.D. McKissic, RB, Seahawks: He looked pretty dynamic, scoring two times with just five touches.

Tyler Kroft, TE, Bengals: At least one Tyler is producing from the tight end spot for Cincinnati. Kroft had 6 catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns in Tyler Eifert’s stead.

Alex Collins, RB, Ravens: Had 82 yards rushing for second straight week.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers: He’s had three straight weeks with at least four catches and 58 yards.

Alfred Morris, RB, Cowboys: Just in case Elliott is ruled against in court this week.

Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets: Stash him for later this season if you have room. 133 total yards, TD

Wayne Gallman, RB, N.Y. Giants: 13 touches, 50 yards

Austin Ekeler, RB, L.A. Chargers: Another possible stash, if Melvin Gordon gets hurt. 3 touches, 58 yards, TD

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football Week 4 recap and waiver wire suggestions

We’re through the first quarter of the NFL’s regular season and if your fantasy football record is 4-0 or 3-1, you’ve got a good shot at making the playoffs. If you’re 2-2, you’re still alive but will have to make some good calls the rest of the way. If you’re 1-3 or 0-4 then you might want to start working on some NBA mock drafts.

If you have a winning record then you probably had some great performances on Sunday, and there were plenty of them.

Julio Jones became the sixth receiver to have a 300-yard game in NFL history as he finished the day with 12 catches, 300 yards and a touchdown. If you have him on your team it was nearly impossible to lose this week, especially if you had him linked up with Matt Ryan.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones hauls in a pass in front of Carolina Panthers cornerback Bene' Benwikere and strong safety Kurt Coleman during the second quarter on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. (Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones hauls in a pass in front of Carolina Panthers cornerback Bene’ Benwikere and strong safety Kurt Coleman during the second quarter on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. (Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Ryan had the biggest game of the week as a passer, throwing for 503 yards and four touchdowns.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan celebrates after connecting with wide receiver Julio Jones for a 75-yard touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. Ryan threw for 503 yards and four touchdowns. (Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS) .
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan celebrates after connecting with wide receiver Julio Jones for a 75-yard touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. Ryan threw for 503 yards and four touchdowns. (Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Ben Roethlisberger was amazing as well. He had four touchdown passes by halftime and ended the game with 300 yards and five TDs.

Russell Wilson turned in his first good game of the season. He threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, which was the first time he threw for at least 300 yards or more than one touchdown in a game this year. The reemergence of Jimmy Graham is helping as he had his second straight 100-yard game.

On the down side of quarterback play was Matthew Stafford. He had two interceptions and no touchdowns against the Bears. He’s been hit-or-miss this season.

Jameis Winston’s poor performance was a little more understandable since he faced the Broncos. A rushing touchdown saved him from having the worst week by a QB.

Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by Jared Crick #93 of the Denver Broncos late during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by Jared Crick #93 of the Denver Broncos late during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s turnover nightmare continued as he threw three more picks to go along with the six he threw last week.

In addition to those busts, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer and Trevor Siemian all went down with injury. Newton and Palmer are in the concussion protocol while Siemian has an AC joint sprain, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

Looking on the bright side, owners were happy to see the return of Le’Veon Bell, who’s suspension ended after Week 3. He had the most rushing yards (144) on Sunday, followed by Ezekiel Elliott who had another good week, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown.

DeMarco Murray had the best week among running backs as he totaled 119 yards and scored twice. Not far behind him was Isaiah Crowell who continues to be a bright spot, along with Terrelle Pryor, on the Browns’ offense. Crowell had 112 yards and a touchdown.

DeMarco Murray #29 of the Tennessee Titans leaps over the Houston Texans defensive line for a touchdown in the second quarter during the NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
DeMarco Murray #29 of the Tennessee Titans leaps over the Houston Texans defensive line for a touchdown in the second quarter during the NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Pryor had a good game (46 yards, TD), as did the Bears’ Jordan Howard and the Bucs’ Cameron Brate, all of which I suggested as waiver claims last week.

Latavius Murray, who was on my sit list, had a terrible game. Chris Ivory and Matt Forte were other starting backs that had bad weeks.

No other receiver came close to Jones’ game, but A.J. Green was great on Thursday night as he made 10 catches for 173 yards and scored. Michael Crabtree continues to impress as he had 88 yards to go along with three TDs.

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree makes a touchdown catch in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree makes a touchdown catch in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Among Sunday’s receivers who should’ve done better were DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, Alshon Jeffery and Julian Edelman.

At tight end Jordan Reed (73 yards, 2 TDs) and Greg Olsen (76 yards, TD) set the pace while Coby Fleener continued to frustrate owners after seemingly breaking out last week.

Players to claim on the waiver wire:

Quarterbacks

Brian Hoyer, Bears (302 yards, 2TDs)
Paxton Lynch, Broncos (170, TD)

Running backs

Terrance West, Ravens (21 touches-119 yards, TD)
Bilal Powell, Jets (10-80)
James White, Patriots (9-62)

Wide receivers

Dontrelle Inman, Chargers (7 catches-120 yards, TD)
Brian Quick, Rams (2-69, 2TDs)
Jeremy Kerley, 49ers (6-88, TD)
Brice Butler, Cowboys (5-41, TD)

Tight ends

Hunter Henry, Chargers (4-61, TD)

Fantasy football Week 4 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit for your coming fantasy matchups.

Starts

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins — The Browns have given up at least 270 yards passing, 80 yards rushing and 25 points in every game this season. Cousins has had two good games in a row and should keep it rolling Sunday.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers — He failed to throw a touchdown pass last weekend, but he gets to face the Saints’ woeful defense. In fact, Rivers should be good to go for two straight weeks since he faces the Raiders in Week 5.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Theo Riddick and/or Dwayne Washington, RB, Lions — They’ll face a Bears defense that gave up 140 yards to Ezekiel Elliott and three rushing touchdowns to three other Cowboys on Sunday night. There’s running room enough for both Lions to be productive.

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints — Owners breathed a sigh of relief last weekend when he finally found the end zone. He faces the Chargers’ defense, which is 26th-worst in points allowed to running backs.

Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks — Though he faces a tough matchup in the Jets, he’s the main man right now, with Thomas Rawls out because of an injury. Volume of carries alone could make him worth the start.

Seattle Seahawks' Christine Michael carries against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle Seahawks’ Christine Michael carries against the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs — You’ll have to keep an eye on this one before kickoff. Jamaal Charles is listed as questionable, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Charles was expected to make his debut Sunday night. If he’s out or limited, Ware gets to face a Steelers defense that is 28th in points allowed to running backs.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts — He’s likely to continue to play well against a Jaguars defense that has given up six touchdown passes and ranks 21st in points allowed to wideouts.

Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers — He and Rivers should connect well against the Saints, who are 24th in points allowed to wide receivers.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns — He’s been doing it all for Cleveland, and he should continue to make an impact against the Redskins, who struggle against wideouts.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) runs the ball during an NFL football gamea, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) runs the ball during an NFL football gamea, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Zach Miller, TE, Bears — He had good numbers in a losing effort last week, and he gets to face the Lions, who are last in points allowed to tight ends.

Sits

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets — The Jets’ play-caller was spectacularly bad last week against the Chiefs, throwing six picks. Facing the Seahawks is not going to help him get back into a groove.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants — He faces a Vikings defense that has five interceptions, 15 sacks and five forced fumbles this season. Minnesota’s great against the run, and if the Giants’ offense is one-dimensional, then Manning will suffer for it.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and Washington Redskins' Chris Baker (92) react after Manning threw an interception during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and Washington Redskins’ Chris Baker (92) react after Manning threw an interception during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders — Unfortunately he’s not the workhorse owners were thinking he’d be, as some carries go to Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington. Will he score a TD for a fourth straight week? Probably not.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets — With Eric Decker out, he’s the No. 2 wideout on the team, but he faces a tough Seahawks pass defense.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers — Don’t be asleep at the wheel. Le’Veon Bell is back, so put Williams on your bench.

Tajae Sharpe, WR, Titans — He let me down last week in a good matchup, despite getting plenty of targets, so he’ll have to earn my trust again. He probably won’t do that this week against the Texans.