15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 4
We can't just look at end-of-game production because that end-of-game production isn't everything.
Scratch that. How a player produces -- his final stat line -- is everything in fantasy football. That's how your fantasy team accumulates points. But it's not everything from the standpoint of sustainability. And, if you think about it, what we're really trying to discover throughout a fantasy football season is what's sustainable and what's not sustainable. We're trying to answer the question, "Is this production for this particular player going to continue, or is it some sort of an outlier?"
That's why we look at peripheral numbers like snap counts, target share, average depth of target -- the list goes on and on. We're attempting to piece together this sustainability puzzle that, if we're being honest, is really, really hard to solve.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. It doesn't mean that these 15 transactions are worthless.
Even if you can answer just a portion of the puzzle, you're going to have a leg up on your leaguemates.
Sell Derrick Henry
In Week 1, the Titans beat the Browns convincingly. The following week, Tennessee played in a close game against Indianapolis. Then, last Thursday, the Titans trailed for the majority of their contest against the Jaguars and lost.
Why bring this up? Because even though Derrick Henry's end-of-game production looked fine in each of these contests, the peripheral numbers shifted just enough to bring some worry.
Henry's Week 1 snap share was a solid 59%, and that fell to 50% in Week 2. The Titans trailed more in that second contest, which caused them to use the pass-catching Dion Lewis a bit more. Then, in Week 3, Henry ended up playing fewer snaps than his teammate, finishing with a 47.5% snap share.
And that's consistently the worry with players like Henry. He's a solid early-down runner who has touchdown upside, but the lack of receiving ability means he can be scripted out of games. Or, at least, that's how his coaches have felt throughout his three-plus year career.
So Henry's a little scary to have rostered in fantasy football because there's a very real chance he doesn't lead his own backfield in snaps in a given game. It's not as though Tennessee's some lock to win every week, either. That'll force negative game scripts, which doesn't benefit Henry.
Let's get back to that touchdown upside, though. He scored 12 times last year, so clearly it exists. Right?
In 2018, Henry rushed for 1,059 yards. We know that yards correlate strongly to touchdowns scored -- the more yards a player has, the more likely it is for that player to score.
From 2014 through 2018 -- a span of five years -- running backs scored a rushing touchdown on every 144.9 rushing yards. Last year, Henry scored on every 88.3 rushing yards.
He did get better opportunities than most backs, but even according to ESPN analyst Mike Clay's opportunity-adjusted touchdown metric, Henry outperformed his touchdown tally last year by about three, one of the higher marks in the league.
Now, in 2019, Henry's gotten a rushing score for every 70 yards rushing. He has a receiving touchdown, too, something he failed to achieve in 2018.
Those are two big red flags for Henry: he can be pushed aside when the Titans are trailing, and even if he gets above-average opportunities versus other backs, he's still not likely to maintain his current scoring pace, especially in an offense that hasn't moved the ball well in two of three games played.
That makes him a clear-cut sell candidate heading into Week 4.
Add Wayne Gallman
The biggest injury from Week 3 was to Saquon Barkley, who's now dealing with an ankle injury. Third-year running back Wayne Gallman replaced Barkley in the Giants' win, running the ball five times while seeing a target. The usage wasn't great, but Gallman was the only other New York running back to see a touch in that game while playing over 63% of the team's snaps. He's a top waiver priority this week, since Barkley will be sidelined for multiple weeks.
Buy Davante Adams
Things haven't been ideal for those of you who drafted Davante Adams. Through three games, he has fewer fantasy points than DeSean Jackson, who's basically played just one game thus far. That's not great, Bob!
There's at least some reason for it. Week 1 saw the Packers go up against the Bears in Chicago, one of the toughest matchups you'll find. After the Bears, they saw the Vikings, another hard game for Adams. And then this past week, Green Bay faced Denver. That meant a lot of Chris Harris.
The good news is that Adams has still seen 23.6% of Green Bay's targets, and he's tallied almost 31% of the team's receiving yards. It's not as though he's been unused and ineffective. And the tough matchups are mostly out of the way -- Adams is at least done facing high-end corners week in and week out. Things could really turn around this Thursday against Philly, a team that's allowed three top-10 and four top-15 performances across the first three games of the season.
If he's unable to perform in that matchup, then that's when we should sound the alarm.
Sell Aaron Jones
As an Aaron Jones truther, this one hurts to write. He's a sell candidate, and it's unfortunately fairly obvious.
Through three games, Jones has seen 64% of Green Bay's running back rushes and about 9% of the team's targets. There's nothing wrong with that, but those numbers are also buoyed by a Week 2 performance that saw him capture 72% of their running back attempts and nearly 18% of their looks through the air. In Week 1 and Week 3, you're looking at a target share south of 4%.
What's probably more concerning about Jones was his Week 3 snap rate. Weeks 1 and 2 saw him in the 58% snap share range, but that plummeted in Week 3, where his share was just 39%. This is coming after a message from head coach Matt LaFleur last week, where he said, according to the Green Bay's Press-Gazette's Ryan Wood, that he wanted to "even up" the touches between Jones and teammate Jamaal Williams. That's precisely what happened, with Williams out-snapping him 35 to 22 against the Broncos.
Am I a believer that Jones is the superior talent compared to Williams? Yes. Do I think he should see more work? Of course. But you have an opportunity to sell Jones after a two-touchdown game, so it may not be a bad idea to do it.
Buy Marquise Brown
Because the non-production numbers are there. My goodness are they there. After three games, Brown has seen 26% of Baltimore's targets, he's got 31% of the team's receiving yards, he's third in the NFL in air yards, and he's tied with Mike Evans and Keenan Allen for the most targets that have traveled 15 or more yards through the air. Huge performances are on the way for Hollywood Brown, so after a 2-catch, 49-yard game in Week 3, he's someone to buy.
Drop Corey Davis
The Titans have now played three games, like every other NFL team. Somehow, some way, there are five players on the Titans with more receiving yards than Corey Davis.
This isn't simply a talent thing. It's a lot of different things. Tennessee's passing attack hasn't been ultra-effective for the most part this season, and there are a lot of viable pass-catchers in the offense. That's led to just a 13.8% target share for Davis, and that's in an offense that's projected to have one of the lowest pass-to-run ratios in football this year.
You can safely drop Davis. He may have decent weeks, but predicting those performances won't be an easy thing to do.
Buy Devonta Freeman
Freeman may not be the same dynamic back we saw back in 2015, but talent isn't everything at running back, let alone a fantasy football running back.
Freeman disappointed through the first two weeks of the season, running for just 41 rushing yards. He was facing two of the tougher run defenses in the league in Minnesota and Philadelphia, though, so the struggles were somewhat understandable.
In Week 3, Freeman ended up running for 88 yards on 16 carries. He looked a lot better in a stronger matchup. Teammate Ito Smith suffered a concussion in the game, allowing Freeman to tally over 90% of Atlanta's snaps. If Smith misses time, that's some upside for Freeman.
Regardless, Freeman's sort of been overlooked this season because of the idea that he doesn't play with the same burst. Perhaps that's true, but he still has seen 76% of the Falcons' running back rushes and almost 10% of the team's targets. Only nine running backs can say they've hit those marks this season.
Volume alone will make him usable from here on out. Since he's yet to find the end zone, he's a buy-low option.
Add Will Dissly
Tight end continues to be a dumpster fire of a position, so any player at the position who's seeing volume is viable. That's Will Dissly.
Over the last two weeks, Dissly's seen about 15% of Seattle's targets, which is a good target share for a waiver wire tight end. And according to Pro Football Focus, he's top-15 in routes run at the position during this time.
He's also been productive, finding the end zone three times while hitting 112 yards receiving. That should continue in Week 4 against Arizona, a team that's now surrendered five touchdowns and 348 receiving yards to tight ends during the first three games of the season.
Buy Rashaad Penny, Add C.J. Prosise
Chris Carson now has four fumbles in three games. That's concerning if you've got Carson rostered in fantasy football.
We watched Carson get out-snapped by the pass-catching C.J. Prosise against the Saints on Sunday, and that could've had something to do with the fumbling issues. It also could have simply been due to game script, since Seattle lost a lead early in that game. Regardless, it's enough reason to make a speculative add off the waiver wire with Prosise, and it's not a bad idea to shoot an offer using one of your bench players to snag Rashaad Penny, who missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury.
Sell Adam Thielen
The only Vikings player that you should be feeling really good about right now in fantasy football is Dalvin Cook. This new-look offense has been run-heavy (no team has fewer pass attempts than Minnesota through three weeks), and it's hurting Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Big time.
The difference between Thielen and Diggs -- aside from a slightly higher target share in favor of Thielen -- is that Thielen's been able to find the end zone. He scored in Week 1, and then he scored twice in Week 3, one of those being a rushing touchdown. That's two touchdowns on just 173 yards receiving, when the last five years saw an average wideout score for every 164 receiving yards. Add in the flukey rushing touchdown, and it's clear that Thielen's probably going to regress in the touchdown column.
It's tough to be into these Vikings receivers with the way the defense is playing and the offensive philosophy they're implementing. They also get the Bears, Giants, and Redskins in three of their next five games, which could lead to positive game scripts and even more running.
Add Darrel Williams
Damien Williams didn't play on Sunday due to a knee injury. Despite a questionable tag, LeSean McCoy did, but he re-injured his ankle that almost kept him sidelined. The injuries to Williams and McCoy don't appear to be very serious, but it would still be worthwhile to grab Darrel Williams off the wire this week, who ended up playing the most snaps for the Chiefs in Week 3. We're just a few games in, and the two running backs ahead of Williams on the depth chart in the best offense in the league are banged up. You have to add him.
Buy or Hold Nick Chubb
Over the first two weeks of the season, Nick Chubb failed to reach a 70% snap share in the Cleveland offense. In turn, Chubb's target share capped at about 12% during those two games, and he even lost a goal-line rush in Week 1 to Dontrell Hilliard.
Week 3 was totally different. Chubb managed all of the work for the Browns' backfield, and he ended the game with 23 carries and 7 targets. He now has seen 92% of Cleveland's running back attempts this season and over 14% of the team's targets. Those numbers have only been hit by Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette.
There's a buying opportunity here given the fact that he's found the end zone just once this season, and he's yet to have a true breakout game. It's understandable if you're worried about what could happen when Kareem Hunt returns, though. We've only got a one-game sample of Chubb dominating the backfield, and Hunt will have some role when he returns.
If there's concern about Hunt, then Chubb's simply a hold. He has a chance to really produce until that point in time. If you don't see Hunt taking a big workload, then Chubb is an obvious player to buy this week.
Add Dawson Knox
A lot of you are probably looking for tight end help, so another decent add this week -- remember, Dissly was talked about above -- is Dawson Knox. The Bills' rookie actually ranks in the top-20 in routes run at tight end this season, and with tight end Tyler Kroft banged up, that type of usage could continue. Knox has now seen at least 12% of Buffalo's targets in each of his last two games, and the Bills face New England in Week 4, where they may be forced to throw more than usual. He's not a bad streaming option.
Add Daniel Jones
All of you saw what Daniel Jones was able to do against Tampa Bay on Sunday. The beautiful part about the performance was that it showed off his athletic ability, and we love it when quarterbacks run the ball in fantasy football. Jones did a great job through the air, but he added a pair of scores with his legs, too, really putting his fantasy total over the edge.
He's got to be the top quarterback streamer in Week 4 against Washington. The Giants are three-point favorites in the game, they're at home, and on what could be a lower-scoring slate, FanDuel Sportsbook has the contest at a decently high 46.5-point over/under. Without Saquon Barkley, New York is going to have to rely more on their aerial attack, and that should translate to fantasy points for Jones.
Add the Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
The criteria for finding a worthwhile defense off the waiver wire is that they should be playing at home, they should be favorites, and they should be playing against an iffy quarterback who either turns the ball over or takes a lot of sacks. The Steelers have that. They're playing at Heinz Field on Monday night, FanDuel Sportsbook has them as 4.5-point favorites, and Andy Dalton has been sacked the sixth-most times in football through three weeks.