Week 4 Offensive Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar plays for Week 4


Ryan Tannehill (at New England) - Tannehill and the five-headed Dolphins wide receiver attack clicked in the second half against the Raiders. Their speed and quickness was too much for the Oakland defense, and this week they get a Patriots defense that is weak in the back seven. Tannehill has also been contributing as a runner, adding to his weekly floor and ceiling.

Baker Mayfield (at Oakland) - If you project out Mayfield’s Week 3 numbers for an entire game, he would have been fine fantasy start. This week, he gets to prepare as the starter against the Raiders defense that had no answer for Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills, and Albert Wilson last week. Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Antonio Callaway all present speed matchup problems for the Raiders, and their pass rush lacks punch without Khalil Mack. Mayfield should be in his comfort zone.

Eli Manning (vs New Orleans) - As recently as 2015, the Giants and Saints played a 52-49 shootout that resembled the 43-37 contest the Saints won at Atlanta last week, when the two quarterbacks provided the two highest fantasy scores of the week. The Saints have already benched one starting corner, and their slot corner just went down for the season. Even without Evan Engram, Manning should have ample opportunity to put numbers against a Saints defense with that is stout against the run, encouraging the Giants to throw even more in Week 4.

Running Back

James White (vs Miami) - Sony Michel came up small in his big opportunity in Week 3. While Michel could and should get even more snaps and touches with Rex Burkhead on injured reserve, White should also get a bump as the uncontested passing down back against a Dolphins defense that features young linebackers. A back has caught at least five passes in every game against Miami this year, so White has a high PPR floor and his red zone involvement gives him a high ceiling.

Phillip Lindsay (vs Kansas City) - The Chiefs have jumped out to big leads this season and forced teams to abandon the run, but those game scripts have also emphasized opponents running backs as receivers. Two backs have scored on receptions, and opponents have completed at least six passes to backs in each game. Perhaps Devontae Booker could eat up some of those receptions, but Lindsay is the more explosive and needed option in a game that will force the Broncos to score a lot to keep up. Small/quick backs like Matt Breida and Austin Ekeler have combined for 129 yards on only 15 carries, which underscores the chances that Lindsay gets yardage in chunks when he touches the ball Monday night.

Aaron Jones (vs Buffalo) - Jones is more of a long shot, but some of us will have to dig deep with injuries at running back thinning the ranks and two teams on bye in Week 4. He is still clearly the best runner in the Packers backfield trio, and Jones looked to be 100% and ready in limited action in his Week 3 return. The Bills shocked the world last week, but the Packers have Aaron Rodgers getting healthier and they are playing at Lambeau this week. If they can build a lead on Josh Allen, Jones could be counted on to salt the game away and put up good numbers in the process.

Jay Ajayi (at Tennessee) - Ajayi returned to a full practice on Thursday and which means that he’s healthier than Corey Clement at this point. The Eagles offensive line has been very strong in the running game, and the team is giving their running backs a ton of chances to score behind them in the red zone - at least seven in every game. The Titans aren’t going to open up a big lead on the Eagles, so expect Ajayi to be a big part of the game as long as he is active.

Wide Receiver

Antonio Callaway (at Oakland) - Callaway is set up for success against a Raiders defense that couldn’t corral Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, or Jakeem Grant on long touchdowns last week. Baker Mayfield’s accuracy should give Callaway great run after catch opportunities, and Callaway showed us last week that he can easily get free behind the defense. This one could be Callaway’s coming out party.

Christian Kirk (vs Seattle) - When Josh Rosen took over last week, Kirk immediately came alive. Rosen targeted him more than any other Cardinals receiver, and the two have complementary skillsets. Kirk can get open early in routes with good breaks and quickness, and Rosen makes quick decisions and gets the ball out on time and accurately to feed his receivers.

Geronimo Allison (vs Buffalo) - Allison has already reeled in two deep balls for long scores this year and his quarterback’s injured knee is starting to feel better entering Week 4. Tre’Davious White, the Bills best corner, shut down Stefon Diggs last week, and he is much more likely to follow and cover Davante Adams than he is to be put on Allison this week. Randall Cobb has been unreliable as of late, so Allison should be a favored target with high value looks from Aaron Rodgers this week.

Tyler Boyd (at Atlanta) - Even with AJ Green due back, Boyd is worth a look this week, if his performance the last two weeks doesn’t make that obvious. The Falcons are without both of their starting safeties and their secondary was just shredded by Drew Brees. Andy Dalton has been very productive and Boyd has been taking advantage of defenses spending more time and energy on Green and John Ross’s threat of deep separation than Boyd’s route running and ball skills.

Marquise Goodwin (at Los Angeles Chargers) - Before we completely abandon the 49ers offense with CJ Beathard at the helm, we should revisit Beathard’s 2017. Goodwin had at least 68 receiving yards in four of Beathard’s six starts, and he also had an 83-yard touchdown. The 49ers are likely to be playing from behind in the second half in this game, which could give Goodwin more targets. It’s easy to forget that he was the team’s #1 receiver going into the season, but we could be reminded this week with heavy usage and solid productivity.

Tight End

David Njoku (at Oakland) - Baker Mayfield is going to revive a lot of fantasy value in the Browns offense, but Njoku could end up being the biggest winner. Njoku’s speed and size hadn’t been harnessed in the middle of the field, where Tyrod Taylor generally struggles to be effective. Mayfield is fearless throwing into small windows, and he throws with anticipation, which could lead Njoku to big gains against defenses bracing for Jarvis Landry’s vacuum hands and precise route running and Antonio Callaway’s speed.

Ben Watson (at New York Giants) - Watson isn’t looking his age, but that’s not a surprise since he came into the league in 2004 as one of the best athletes we had ever seen at the tight end position. His production is trending up in the first three weeks of the season, and this week he gets the Giants, one of the best matchups for tight ends in recent years. Last week, Texans tight ends combined for 115 yards on five catches, and in Week 1 Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a touchdown called back by penalty. Watson is set up for his best game of the year to date in what should be a shootout.

Rhett Ellison (vs New Orleans) - On the other side of that shootout, consider Ellison. He should be a full-time player and showed out well in relief of Evan Engram last year, catching three balls for 39 yards and a score. He has all six of his targets this year, and the Saints strength against the run should result in more pass attempts for Eli Manning. The Saints should also devote some energy from their safeties to helping their vulnerable cornerbacks, which should leave Ellison in winnable one-on-one matchups.

Ryan Griffin (at Indianapolis) - Griffin isn’t dominating targets among the Houston tight ends, but he is dominating snaps. He is averaging over 20 yards a catch and facing a defense that gave up 73 receiving yards to two different tight ends last week. Bruce Ellington is out and rookie slot receiver Keke Coutee isn’t a sure thing to play this week and might be limited if he does, so it’s not a stretch to Griffin as the #3 target in the Texans passing game this week.

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