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Returner Recap and Latest News: Week 4

Week 4 news for fantasy leagues that utilize returners.

Individual returner projections for each week are included in your MyFBG projections and rankings automatically. My returner projections are included in the default projection set with David Dodds' offensive predictions. Choose David as the source, and then choose a scoring system in which you have included points for return yards.

The base return projections for a week can be seen on this page. You can also go to the content for the week and use the Returner Projections link to get there.

UPDATES:

A hurricane is bearing down on the East Coast and could affect games there, particularly Philadelphia and Washington.

Reggie Bush is fully participating in 49ers practice and Bruce Ellington is listed as Probable.

Tyler Varga is dealing with a concussion and has been ruled out for Week 4 for the Colts.

Early in the week, Travis Benjamin was limited in practice with injured ribs but then was upgraded to Probable for Cleveland.

Devin Hester is practicing with turf toe, but is still limited in Atlanta and has been ruled Out. Eric Weems will likely continue to see the returns in the meantime.

Jacoby Jones has not practiced for the Chargers and has now been ruled Out.

Adam Jones is listed as Questionable, but by week's end participated fully in practice with the Bengals, so may be likely to play.

Omar Bolden has been upgraded to Probable after missing the last few games for Denver.

Raiders kick returner Taiwan Jones was limited in practice at the end of the week and is Questionable. It is not clear who will handle returns if Jones cannot play.

Josh Huff has been upgraded to Probable for Philadelphia.

Ravens receiver Steve Smith reportedly broke four bones in his back in Baltimore's Week 4 game on Thursday. Smith had already given way to Mike Campanaro on punt returns, but Campanaro was also injured in the game and has been placed on Injured Reserve. The Ravens could look to Lardarius Webb as a returner now, and on Saturday acquired receiver Chris Givens in a trade from the Rams. Givens could be used on kickoffs and Webb on punts, though we may not know until next week's game.

Week 3 Recap

Top Performers

There were 19 return touchdowns in 2014 and 20 in 2013. An influx of talented returners this year has already resulted in 9 return touchdowns through just 3 games, with rookies producing 4 of them including 2 this week. Tyler Lockett picked up a kickoff touchdown for the Seahawks, while Marcus Murphy took a punt back 64 yards for the Saints on their way to ranking second and third for the week in total return yards. Rashad Ross topped all returners with 158 kickoff return yards and a touchdown of his own as he made a case for the Washington coaching staff having made the right decision in giving Ross the job over Chris Thompson.

With a few games in the book, those seeking the hot hand at returner each week may wish to pay particular attention to the touchback percentages that drive kickoff return opportunities. The Eagles and Bears may provide good returner matchups as they are noticeably the worst in the league this year, gaining touchbacks on only 23% and 33% of their kickoffs respectively, though the anemic offensive output of the Bears in particular also needs to be considered. The Giants, Packers and Chargers are the only other teams in the NFL below 50% and have been better at generating scores that lead to kickoffs. The Ravens, Colts, Broncos and Cowboys are all above 87% in touchback percentage, so are opponents you may wish to avoid.  UPDATE: Houston released Randy Bullock and signed Nick Novak as their kicker. Novak was amongst the worst in the league at kickoffs the last two seasons in San Diego, and many a return fantasy point was scored by acquiring whoever was facing San Diego each week. If Novak takes over kickoffs for Houston, they may become a desirable opponent to face as well, with only their offensive output to worry about each week.

All Week 3 Returners

Below are all returners for Week 3.

RKPLAYERTEAMKick RetKR YdsKR TDPunt RetPR YdsPR TDTotal YdsTotal TDs
1 Rashad Ross WAS 4 158 1       158 1
2 Marcus Murphy NOR 3 72 0 2 82 1 154 1
3 Tyler Lockett SEA 1 105 1 3 9 0 114 1
4 Knile Davis KAN 3 95 0       95 0
5 DeAndrew White SFO 4 95 0       95 0
6 Darren Sproles PHI       3 89 1 89 1
7 Bobby Rainey TAM 1 27 0 5 48 0 75 0
8 Jeremy Kerley NYJ       7 69 0 69 0
9 Ty Montgomery GNB 2 64 0       64 0
10 Mike Campanaro BAL 1 26 0 2 35 0 61 0
11 Taiwan Jones OAK 2 60 0       60 0
12 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 2 53 0       53 0
13 Benny Cunningham STL 2 48 0       48 0
14 Quintin Demps HOU 2 46 0       46 0
15 Corey Grant JAX 2 41 0       41 0
16 Marcus Sherels MIN       3 38 0 38 0
17 DeAnthony Thomas KAN 1 19 0 5 18 0 37 0
18 Jarvis Landry MIA 1 18 0 1 19 0 37 0
19 Jarryd Hayne SFO       1 37 0 37 0
20 Adam Jones CIN 1 32 0 1 0 0 32 0
21 Tavon Austin STL       3 32 0 32 0
22 Lance Dunbar DAL 1 28 0 1 4 0 32 0
23 Micah Hyde GNB       4 30 0 30 0
24 Patrick Peterson ARI 1 24 0 2 4 0 28 0
25 Marc Mariani CHI 1 27 0       27 0
26 Brandon Tate CIN       3 25 0 25 0
27 Eric Weems ATL 1 23 0       23 0
28 Jordan Todman PIT 1 22 0       22 0
29 Cole Beasley DAL       2 20 0 20 0
30 Shaun Draughn CLE 1 19 0       19 0
31 Branden Oliver SDG 1 19 0       19 0
32 Danny Amendola NWE       2 18 0 18 0
33 Dwayne Harris NYG 1 13 0 1 0 0 13 0
34 Emmanuel Sanders DEN       2 13 0 13 0
35 Jamison Crowder WAS       1 10 0 10 0
36 Travis Benjamin CLE       3 9 0 9 0
37 Julian Edelman NWE       1 8 0 8 0
38 Marcus Thigpen BUF       2 7 0 7 0
39 Travis Carrie OAK       1 6 0 6 0
40 Keenan Allen SDG       1 0 0 0 0
41 Dexter McCluster TEN       3 -1 0 -1 0

Returners Year to Date

Here are the top 40 returners for the year by total return yards.

RKPLAYERTEAMKick RetKR YdsKR TDPunt RetPR YdsPR TDTotal YdsTotal TDs
1 Tyler Lockett SEA 7 240 1 7 94 1 334 2
2 Bobby Rainey TAM 5 147 0 10 99 0 246 0
3 Marc Mariani CHI 6 161 0 2 31 0 192 0
4 Ameer Abdullah DET 6 189 0       189 0
5 Ty Montgomery GNB 6 189 0       189 0
6 Rashad Ross WAS 5 181 1       181 1
7 Marcus Murphy NOR 4 95 0 4 84 1 179 1
8 Travis Benjamin CLE       10 173 1 173 1
9 Dwayne Harris NYG 3 90 0 7 69 0 159 0
10 David Johnson ARI 2 151 1       151 1
11 Tyler Varga IND 6 151 0       151 0
12 Knile Davis KAN 5 146 0       146 0
13 DeAndrew White SFO 6 142 0 1 4 0 146 0
14 Jarvis Landry MIA 1 18 0 6 118 1 136 1
15 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 5 136 0       136 0
16 Darren Sproles PHI       8 134 1 134 1
17 Lance Dunbar DAL 5 129 0 1 4 0 133 0
18 DeAnthony Thomas KAN 1 19 0 14 114 0 133 0
19 Eric Weems ATL 5 103 0 3 28 0 131 0
20 Corey Grant JAX 5 127 0       127 0
21 Taiwan Jones OAK 4 121 0       121 0
22 Tavon Austin STL       5 113 1 113 1
23 Adam Jones CIN 3 77 0 4 23 0 100 0
24 Brandon Tate CIN 3 43 0 5 54 0 97 0
25 Ted Ginn CAR       7 90 0 90 0
26 Branden Oliver SDG 4 90 0       90 0
27 Mike Campanaro BAL 2 55 0 2 35 0 90 0
28 Marcus Sherels MIN       8 86 0 86 0
29 Jeremy Kerley NYJ       9 82 0 82 0
30 Zac Stacy NYJ 4 82 0       82 0
31 Shaun Draughn CLE 3 77 0       77 0
32 Benny Cunningham STL 3 76 0       76 0
33 Keith Mumphery HOU       10 72 0 72 0
34 Richard Sherman SEA       1 64 0 64 0
35 Isaiah Pead STL 3 63 0       63 0
36 Danny Amendola NWE       6 58 0 58 0
37 Raheem Mostert MIA 2 57 0       57 0
38 Dexter McCluster TEN       9 54 0 54 0
39 LaMichael James MIA 2 54 0       54 0
40 Quintin Demps HOU 2 46 0       46 0

Week 4 Outlook

Job Changes

T.J. Jones was active for the first time for Detroit, and took over punt returns from Golden Tate in the game.

Danny Amendola handled kickoff returns for New England. The Patriots are not shy about changing up their returners, leaving owners of Amendola and Dion Lewis guessing who will get the more valuable kickoffs.

Michael Campanaro handled all returns for the Ravens, taking over punts from receiver Steve Smith.

Rookie receiver Amari Cooper began to see some time on punt returns, with one return of 9 yards and another of -9 yards. Coach Jack Del Rio said Cooper will be used on punt returns occasionally.

Marcus Murphy's punt return touchdown came at a good time, as the Saints are looking for ways to get C.J. Spiller involved. Murphy had not fared well so far in the return game.

Backup kick returner Isaiah Pead was released by the Rams. Tavon Austin and Chris Givens could be options as backups to Benny Cunningham.

Richard Sherman's long punt return came on a trick play as normal Seahawks returner Tyler Lockett pretended to field the ball on one side of the field, drawing the coverage unit away from where Sherman caught the punt on the other side.

Dolphins kick returner Raheem Mostert was left inactive Week 3. Jarvis Landry and Damien Williams combined to handle the kickoff returns. Landry continued to handle punts.

Percy Harvin again handled kickoffs for the Bills.

As expected, Patrick Peterson took over punt returns for the Cardinals. Though his stat line includes a kickoff return, it was returning the kick after a safety, and not something that Peterson owners should expect to repeat often.

Fozzy Whittaker remained the Panthers kick returner despite Joe Webb having the only return listed in Carolina's stat line.

Tyler Varga saw the majority of kickoffs for Indianapolis, though receiver Phillip Dorsett handled one of the many kicks that resulted in touchbacks.

The Texans turned to receiver Cecil Shorts to handle punt returns after Chandler Worthy was ineffective and had one fumble.

Bobby Rainey has been handling all of the returns for the Buccaneers, but will have to hang onto the ball better if he wishes to keep them. Rainey had two fumbles this week.

INJURIES OF NOTE

Josh Huff was a late addition to the injury report with a hamstring issue and missed Philadelphia's game against the Jets.

Chris Owusu had his knee scoped and could miss 3 weeks.  Zac Stacy handled returns for the Jets but only averaged 20.5 yard per return on his 4 returns.

Adam Jones left the Bengals game with an elbow injury. His status for Week 4 will need to be watched.

Omar Bolden continues to miss games for Denver. Andre Caldwell handled kickoff returns as he did the week before.

Atlanta's Devin Hester and San Diego's Jacoby Jones continue to miss time with injuries. Until either is practicing fully they should not be counted on for fantasy purposes.