Time to Shine or Ride the Pine: Week 4 Start or Sit

Man, was Week 3 a roller coaster with crazy upsets, and exciting shoot-outs. Minshew Mania was shut down by some Fitzmagic. Atlanta blew another huge 4th quarter lead. Josh Allen and the Bills announced their arrival, and Seattle keeps letting Russ cook. In terms of my deep dive starts…they sucked! Ha ha. Henry Ruggs didn’t even play, Aaron Jones won’t share, and Baltimore couldn’t get anything going. The only saving grace was watching D.J. Moore less, and seeing the Giants absolutely stink up the joint. On to Week 4 start or sit we go, where some familiar names are back in the spotlight.

Time to Shine

A.J. Green (Jax@Cin 1pm est)

The Bengals have attempted the 2nd most passes (141) and A.J. has seen a healthy 20% of those targets (28). That alone makes Begals receivers enticing but it’s been slow to develop for Green and Burrow. During Weeks 1 & 2, he couldn’t get on the same page with Burrow as 22 targets resulted in 8 receptions. Last week however, we saw them get in sync and A.J. caught 5 of 6 while also seeing a season high 76% of the offensive snaps. Perfect timing going against their Week 4 opponent, the Jaguars.

Jacksonville isn’t the most appealing matchup from a pure numbers standpoint, but it is through the air, where they’re beatable. The Jags allowed Philip Rivers to throw for 363 in Week 1. Ryan Tannehill was 18 of 24 with 4 touchdowns Week 2. And Fitzmagic had only 2 incompletions with 2 TD’s last week. Needless to say, Joe Burrow and company are set up for a big game. Three underwhelming games may have some feeling Green, but A.J. will earn back his stripes against the Jaguars. This developing rapport and increased playing time mean that elusive good game is coming.

Prediction: 5 rec 76 yards 1 TD: 16.1 pts

O.J. Howard (LAC@TB 1pm est)

What about Gronk? Yeah yeah, I know Gronkowski “is back” after posting season highs in receptions, yards, and a snap percentage of 93. That’s great for him, but he isn’t the TE in Tampa worth rostering. While everyone will be Gronk smashing their phones out of frustration, I’ll be sipping some O.J. in Week 4 and beyond.

Howard is 3rd on the team in air yards with 150 (70 more than Gronkowski), and is 3rd on the team with 12 yards/reception. With Chris Godwin and Scott Miller likely out, Gronkowski and Howard should be heavily involved. That said, with Gronk being best utilized as a blocker, look for O.J. to post season bests.

Prediction: 4 rec 56 yards 1 TD: 13.6 pts

Brandin Cooks (Min@Hou 1pm est)

This Texans team has had a brutal beginning to the 2020 season. They’re 0-3 after losing to Kansas City, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, and their offense has been abysmal. Their season high in yards was 360 on opening night and Deshaun Watson has yet to exceed 300 yards passing. These numbers get a major boost this week, going up against a Vikings defense which ranks 31st in scoring, and 30th in total yards.

The man poised to take advantage of this matchup is Brandin Cooks, as Minnesota DBs have been atrocious at defending the pass. They have allowed 7 different guys to go over 60 yards and are giving up the 4th most fpts/gm to WR’s. Will Fuller is once again dealing with a hamstring issue and the last time he was limited, Brandin cooked Baltimore for 95 yards. Regardless of Fuller’s availability, look for Cooks and Houston to have their best offensive output of 2020.

Prediction: 6 rec 102 yards 1 TD: 19.2 pts

Ride the Pine

Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Jimmy Graham (Ind@Chi 1pm est)

BDN has taken over as Chicago’s QB and his impact was immediate. His first touchdown pass was to Jimmy Graham, late in the 4th quarter. That was Graham’s 2nd of the day and also the first time with 6 or more receptions since Week 4 of 2019. His overall numbers are pretty good but his involvement in the offense has been slightly deceiving. All 3 of his TDs have come with the team trailing by multiple scores, and on the road. In Week 2 when Chicago led throughout the day at home, he only had 1 reception. They’re at home against the Colts, and are the NFL’s top overall defense and top defense against tight ends this week.

Indianapolis has surrendered a total of 676 yards through 3 games, while limiting opposing TE’s to only 5 total receptions. This game has the lowest over/under of 43, and both teams play pretty slow. With a current line sitting around 3 as well, this is shaping up to be a close, low scoring affair. He’ll have his moments with Nick Foles now under center, but they won’t come this week. Jimmy will produce crumbs for your lineups and should be kept in the cupboard during week 4.

Prediction: 3 rec 28 yards: 4.3 pts

Adrian Peterson (NO@Det 1pm est)

AP has surprisingly taken over the lead role for Detroit and was on display All-Day against the Cardinals. He toted the rock 22 times and played over 50% of the offensive snaps. Peterson has seldom been used in the passing game however, and will only be unleashed in positive game scripts or against poor running defenses. Neither of those apply this week with the Saints marching to town.

New Orleans is only allowing 3.4 yds/car, kept Josh Jacobs under 90 yards on 27 attempts, and Aaron Jones to 69 yards. With AP being a pure runner, his playing time should diminish against one of his former teams this week. He has yet to find the end zone and won’t break that streak this week. Unless you’re absolutely desperate, stay away from Adrian against the Saints in week 4.

Prediction: 11 car 39 yards, 1 rec 5 yards: 4.9 pts

Darius Slayton (NYG@LAR 4:05pm est)

Last week, I picked on the Giants’ backfield, so this week I’ll go after their pass catchers. Darius Slayton is my target of choice. Since exploding for over 100 yards and 2 scores in Week 1, Slayton has disappointed since with only 6 catches for 86 yards. The lack of production isn’t due to his play but more to do with lack of opportunity though. The G-Men have only ran an average of 56 plays/game, and they cannot give Daniel Jones any time to throw. These will both be issues in against a Rams team who has found its running game, and with Aaron Donald dominating. Oh yeah, Slayton will probably also see a healthy amount of Jalen Ramsey as well. I’m punting all Giants this week as another blowout and anemic Giants offensive performance is on tap.

Prediction: 4 rec 49 yards: 6.9 pts

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