In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter we drop early Week 4 ranks, look into Trey Sermons usage, and have fun with an Eli Manning meme. It's 9/29. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
Jam-packed newsletter today. We got early Week 4 ranks by Waz fresh out of the oven, the biggest signals and noise trends from Ben Gretch, and some funny tweets from Cooterdoodle. Let’s get to it...
💥 SIGNALS & NOISE
Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) writes the terrific Stealing Signals newsletter where he does a weekly deep dive into the previous week and shares his biggest signals (players who could sustain their production) and biggest noise (performances that were likely fluky). Here are some of his observations from Week 3…
* Trey Sermon — ceded first snap and carry to Kyle Juszczyk, only played 59% of snaps despite no other true RB playing any offensive snaps at all (I’d be looking to sell — Shanahan didn’t have this much trepidation turning Elijah Mitchell loose in Week 2, and I read this as added risk Sermon gets buried again when the 49ers get healthier at the position)
* Zack Moss — five of six green zone touches, led Devin Singletary in snaps, ran equal number of routes, more HVT (high value touches) in two games (12) than Singletary has in three (9)
* Will Fuller — 70% routes in debut, tied DeVante Parker for team high with 121 air yards
* Odell Beckham — looked healthy, drew legit No. 1 volume with 149 air yards and a 0.81 WOPR (weighted opportunity rating)
* Mike Williams — 71% catch rate, 4 touchdowns on 31 targets (we’ve reached the point where it’s worth noting Williams has been unsustainably good)
* Brandon Bolden — 46% snap share, routes on 36% of dropbacks (the 31-year-old typically plays on special teams and isn’t the likely long-term answer for James White’s role; J.J. Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson are waiver targets)
* Najee Harris, Chase Claypool — monster target volume (58 pass attempt, plus Diontae Johnson was out and JuJu Smith-Schuster left early)
* Bengals — 18 pass attempts (yep, again; Joe Burrow threw multiple TDs for the third straight week, and this passing game still has plenty of upside)
To see all of Gretch’s biggest signals and biggest noise analysis from Week 3, subscribe to his substack.
🥇 WAZ'S .5 PPR RANKS
Here are the early Week 4 rankings from Rob Waziak aka "Waz" along with some notes on situations he’s monitoring:
* While I have Josh Jacobs (RB28) ranked as an RB3, his week of practice will set the tone for where he will be ranked on Saturday. He’s nursing an ankle injury that kept him out of Week 3, but if he plays this week, he’ll be facing a Chargers rush defense that ranks 31st in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). The game is on Monday night so let’s hope we get good news sooner than later.
* I was wrong in projecting Dalvin Cook (RB40) being active last week so I’m approaching him much more conservatively this time around. Unfortunately, the Vikings will be facing a Browns rush defense that ranks 4th in DVOA. There’s no need for the Vikings to rush Cook back this week, but whether he does or does not play, Alexander Mattison (RB29) is still a worthy play.
* If he can move past the shoulder injury that sidelined him last week, Tee Higgins (WR28) could have an opportunity to feast against the Jaguars 30th-ranked pass DVOA. He’s probably unlikely to practice all week, but I think there’s still a chance for him to play on Sunday. Ja’Marr Chase (WR17) and Tyler Boyd (WR34) likely wouldn’t move much further if Higgins sat because it feels like a Joe Mixon (RB3) kind of week.
* If you have Courtland Sutton (WR18), you’re probably going to start him as he’s in for a day of work now that K.J. Hamler was placed on season-ending IR. If you don’t, consider flexing Tim Patrick (WR41), who has two receiving touchdowns on the season and hasn’t seen less than four targets in a game this season.
Hopefully we can get enough news in by Saturday morning to be able to adjust rankings on the players listed above along with a slew of other notable players on the injury report. Until then, these should get you started!
Waz is a fantasy football analyst who competes in draft and season-long expert rankings competitions. He's consistently been at or near the top of all industry-wide leaderboards since 2017. He’ll be back on Saturday with an update.
🔢 WEDNESDAYS ARE FOR THE STATS
* Jonathan Taylor Is A Ghost, D’Andre Swift Is A Star, And Why Week 3 Could Have Been Even Bigger For Some Of Its Heroes by Shawn Siegele. “Mark Andrews quietly kicked it into gear, catching five balls for 109 yards and looking like the 2019 version. It could have been more, as (Lamar) Jackson had him wide open for a 32-yard TD but missed him in the end zone...If a leaguemate is looking at this as a sell-high window on Andrews, try to pry him away this week.” Get access to the full article on Rotoviz with a Rotopass subscription.
* Waiver Adds, Buy Lows & Interesting Trends - Week 4 Stat Chasing. Sam Hoppen uses charts and data viz to analyze all of the most interesting player usage and emerging trends from Week 3, including notes on Antonio Gibson and Stefon Diggs.
* Strength In Numbers: Actionable Week 3 Stats by Jack Miller. “James Robinson out-carried Carlos Hyde 11-2 in Week 2. The gap narrowed in Week 3 with the Illinois State product notching 15 carries and Hyde getting eight. Robinson also ran a route on a season-low 40.0% of Trevor Lawrence's dropbacks, while Hyde set a new season-high by running a route on 30.0% of dropbacks.”
* Congrats to Matthew and co. on 300 episodes of The Fantasy Show.
🐦 COOTERDOODLE'S FAVORITE TWEETS
- Pete Overzet