The Top 10: Week 4

Matt Waldman opens his film notebook and examines the emerging stars, emergency replacements, and lingering concerns from Week 3.  

Mission

The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.

I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with the wrong process.

The Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).

As always I recommend Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece which you'll find available on this page, Monday night. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.

Straight, No Chaser: Week 3 Cliff's Notes

The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points:

  1. When it comes to the Browns' offense, there are a lot of valid targets to attribute fault. Even so, Baker Mayfield must learn to manage the pocket better—a problem that's existed well before his NFL career began.
  2. Mike Evans's performance against the Giants included a lot of work as an inside receiver, which is a growing trend with NFL offenses.
  3. The Rams ground game is adjusting to its opponents when they play six-man fronts. Expect better weeks for Todd Gurley.
  4. Daniel Jones executed a game plan that asked him to make minimal reads and use his legs. It's a good debut but there's a long way to go.
  5. Gardner Minshew's decision-making and manipulation of coverage at Washington State made him a potential starter, according my pre-draft scouting report.
  6. Devonta Freeman may be a little slower, but his footwork, vision, and burst remains strong enough, and Atlanta's offensive line is improving.
  7. LeSean McCoy still has his burst.
  8. Austin Hooper will be a double-digit scorer this year.
  9. David Johnson isn't earning much as a runner but his receiving and red-zone work should make him a sustainable fantasy RB2 in PPR leagues.
  10. This week's Fresh Fish:
    1. Cardinals' safety D.J. Swearinger Sr, who has become a prime fantasy matchup for the league's tight ends.
    2. Seahawks' runner Chris Carson, who slipped three times and lost another fumble at the end of a long run.
    3. The 49ers offense for turning the ball over four times in the first half to the Steelers, including twice in the red zone.
    4. The Steelers offense for managing 99 yards and 6 points off the 49ers' four turnovers until 5:42 left in the third quarter.

For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.

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