Workin’ the Wire for Week 4

25 Sep 2018 - 4:27pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 25 Sep 2018 - 5:08pm | Likes: 17 Like 
Workin’ the Wire for Week 4

Be sure to check those bye weeks folks, as this is the first week of byes for the 2018 season.

Off this week: Washington and Carolina


Baker Mayfield-Cleveland Browns: Mayfield had his skeptics when the Browns made him the number one overall pick in May, but fresh off a relief appearance in which he led Cleveland to its first victory in nearly two years, it’s safe to say there are a lot more believers this week. Still, as with any rookie quarterback there are going to be growing pains. Fortunately, he gets a nice matchup this week with an 0-3 Oakland team that can’t seem to stop anyone when it counts. Of note from Thursday’s victory over the Jets was just how accurate Mayfield was, going 17/23 for 201 yards in leading the Browns comeback in the second half. Going on the road to Oakland is never easy, but Mayfield has a nice matchup against a struggling secondary and got the extra few days to prepare with the long week. Based on what we saw in a half of football, he looks like a solid rest of season dice roll.

Josh Allen-Buffalo Bills: Let’s start with the fact that it was nice to see signs of life out of Buffalo, and out of the Bills quarterback position in particular. By no means should we expect this team to roll into Green Bay and surprise the Packers after last week’s mauling of Minnesota, but there are some solid Josh Allen takeaways here. First, the Vikings have one of the better secondaries in the NFL and Allen at least looked like a league average quarterback against that unit, going 15/22 for 196 yards and a score. But the real value here was the running. Allen is a big mobile guy in the Ben Roethlisberger mold, and it was evident on Sunday that he can get outside the pocket and move, as his fantasy day was heavily bolstered by a 10-39-2 rushing line. And when you see something like that it’s hard not to think back to Rich Hribar’s “Konami Code” theory for fantasy quarterbacks. Hribar (@LordReebs on Twitter), then of Numberfire and now of Rotoworld, posited the theory that running quarterbacks, and particularly those that saw 100 carries or more in a season, were essentially a fantasy cheat code at the quarterback position due to their consistent built in points floor with rushing production. If you’re unfamiliar with the theory it’s linked above and certainly worth a read. Recognizing that Allen has now run 22 times on the season in a little less than two and a half football games, he would seem to be a player worth stashing, as he could wind up being the newest member of the Konami Code clan (yeah, I just made that up).

Running Backs

Javorius “Buck” Allen-Baltimore Ravens: Allen has done little on the ground to merit consideration, but with Kenneth Dixon on the shelf he has the backup duties to himself in Baltimore and is the go-to passing downs back. Alex Collins is still the lead dog here, but we’ve seen the Ravens roll exclusively with Allen in hurry-up offenses and in the two minute drill. And his 17 targets through just three games is difficult to overlook for a running back. Despite his 6’ 220 lb build, Allen has never excelled as a between the tackles runner in the NFL, but he has managed to carve out a Theo Roddick-like existence in the Baltimore backfield and is averaging 10 touches per game through Week 3.

Chris Ivory-Buffalo Bills: With LeSean McCoy nursing cracked ribs, Ivory slid into the primary ball carrier role for the Bills and logged 20 carries and 4 targets last week in McCoy’s stead. The problem is that Ivory only netted just 56 yards on the 20 totes, which is downright awful. He saved his fantasy day with a 3 catch, 70 yard receiving day, but that’s not going to happen every week. The Bills also aren’t going to be playing from ahead most weeks either, and it’s possible he cedes some time to Mark Murphy in passing situations. Still, this offense is somewhat limited and we talked already about how much Allen is running with the football as well. He’s probably an option for desperate McCoy owners, but it’s hard to envision him being a season-long difference maker.

Nick Chubb-Cleveland Browns: For those looking ahead, Chubb might be worth a stash if he’s floating around on your wire. Carlos Hyde has looked fantastic so far, but we know he’s a bit of an injury risk, and ostensibly the shift to Baker Mayfield as the starter will lead to some down weeks. That could lead to more playing time for Chubb, as the youth movement continues and the Browns decide to see what they have in the their second round pick.

Wide Receivers

Tyler Boyd-Cincinnati Bengals: Boyd was looking like a solid pick-up even before the injury to A.J. Green, but with Green’s status very questionable going forward he’s the top option on waivers this week. Coming on in his third pro season, the Bengals felty confident enough in his development to let Brandon LaFell go this offseason, and have been running Boyd largely out of the slot (63.8% according to It will be interesting to see what happens when Boyd starts drawing number one corners, which one would assume happens this week. And because long speed has always been his biggest weakness, he’s not a deep threat so expect Cincinnati to look to John Ross and Josh Malone to fill that void in Green’s absence. Neither is a must add at this point, but pay attention to how the targets shake out this week.

Antonio Callaway-Cleveland Browns: While Jarvis Landry owners certainly breathed a sigh of relief with Mayfield under center and Landry coming away from Thursday night’s game with 15 total targets (8-103 yards), don’t overlook Antonio Callaway’s 10 targets either. Yes, he only converted 4 for 20 yards, but it was only his third NFL game and there was a quarterback change midway through. Josh Gordon getting shipped off to New England is huge for Callaway, who is running almost exclusively on the outside. And Mayfield’s less conservative style should open the door to some big plays for the rookie, who has the strength and speed to be a matchup nightmare. He’s going to be a bit of a crapshoot week in and week out, but he’s trending towards being a solid matchup play and once we get a better sense of the Browns passing game with Mayfield at the helm it may be too late to add him in many leagues.     

Tight End

Dallas Goedert-Philadelphia Eagles: We’re three weeks into the NFL season and we’ve finally got a Dallas Goedert sighting. The Eagles second round pick out of South Dakota State got a lot of Zach Ertz comparisons throughout the draft process and certainly opened eyes throughout the summer at Eagles camp. Still very raw after coming out of a small Missouri Valley Conference school, Goedert likely winds up with more playing time purely out of necessity. Alshon Jeffery is still on the mend, but with the season-ending injury to Mike Wallace in Week 2, things got so desperate in Philadelphia that the Eagles brought back Jordan Matthews mid-week. Expect Goedert’s targets to diminish as the backs and receivers get healthier in Philly, but for now he’s a solid option at a very thin tight position.  

As always, this list is made up of players that are 30% owned or less in Yahoo leagues, and if you happen to be looking at a guy that falls above that threshold or can’t figure out why I left a player off the list, feel free to ping me on Twitter @rotocoach with any questions.

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