2020 Season: Week 4 Recap


Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Not much to say here. Let's jump right into our Week 4 recap.

Week 4 Recap

Standout Performers

There's a decent chance this article doesn't age very well for me depending on what happens in the Falcons vs Packers game, but my level of optimism about the Browns vs Cowboys game well exceeded even my own bullish expectations. I'm not going to toot my own horn on this one too much; the expected over/under was absolutely shattered and the results we saw from both offenses as a whole was dazzling. This is all about both the Browns and Cowboys being good this week. 

The most important thing to consider here is that if you are an Odell Beckham Jr. owner, you might want to sell high ASAP. Besides that, kudos to Baker Mayfield lookin' alive, it's nice to see more from Austin Hooper, I think Dalton Schultz is everything we wanted Blake Jarwin to be, and here's to hoping Nick Chubb is healthy. 

MM: Last week people were barely even bothering to put Joe Mixon's picture on a milk carton. Those who drafted the young RB from Cincinnati had to feel vindicated though after watching him plow through the Jacksonville JAGs like they were made of Skyline chili (that's right Cincy, I got local references for ya). Seriously though, this is the Mixon we were expecting, finally cracking 20+ carries for the first time all year, and increased passing work in what was an all-around great performance. While it is unlikely that he will be the only one scoring TDs in Cincy with fellow talented play-makers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins on the roster, you cannot complain about 3 TDs in one game. Great to finally see the RB that we expected to see in 2020.

Bitter Disappointments

I tried to tell y'all. I really did. And look, Kenyan Drake is a professional football player. He is clearly very, very good relative to the general population of anyone who has ever played the sport of football in their lifetimes given that he is on an NFL roster. But with that qualifier, c'mon: is he really that good? 

I'm going to go ahead and leave this statement here as a contribution to the 2021 time capsule and say maybe Kenyan Drake is a victim of two terrible coaches in Adam Gase AND Kliff Kingsbury (I'm not convinced he's NFL material) and he is actually good, but this situation isn't showcasing his talent. You'd think that a gimme matchup against the truly dreadful Carolina run defense would be the get-right thing he needed, but Drake is a bust to date. Yuck.

MM: Joshua Kelley has developed a fumbling problem, and if he is not careful it is going to cost him the opportunity he spent his rookie preseason working so hard to receive. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a strong front seven, so the low efficiency does not overly concern me given what he has managed to do so far this season. But 2 fumbles in as many games is going to be a problem for Anthony Lynn, who will need to replace Austin Ekeler for several weeks with some combination of Justin Jackson and Kelley, and may find himself leaning on the RB who does not cough up the rock. Kelley offers something that Jackson does not, and that should give him the first shot at the lion's share of Ekeler's touches, but if he continues to cough up the rock he will find himself doing a lot less and wondering what could have been.

Personal Fantasy Highlight/Lowlight

My Fantasy Footballers' Megalabowl team I talked about being absolute dookie last week was saved by me being savvy and last minute adding Austin Hooper and Scotty Miller so kudos to me I guess. 

As far as lowlight shame goes, the league of note that both Malcolm and I care about the most is the one that saw me draft Jonathan Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, and Zack Moss (and that's not even including my hella reach on Bryan Edwards). While I'm still optimistic for the future, I loaded my bench with risky long-term plays and neglected the early season implications thus leading to a 1-3 record. There has been some horrific injury luck that's totally screwed me (Blake Jarwin, Parris Campbell, Davante Adams to name a few), but I certainly didn't do myself any favors either. 

The thing to learn here is that while you do need a ticket to win the lottery, don't spend too much of your money going for the pot. It ain't worth it. Some of the players I could have had in lieu of the rookies would've put me in a far better spot and I'm suffering the consequences. Hype trains are fun but if you overextend your travel schedule, you're gonna have a bad time.

MM: If you have been following me on the Twitter, you would have been on top of all the COVID-19 news this past week. I am very proud that we were on top of things, making good recommendations, and by following those recommendations at no point was I in danger of being screwed over by the COVID cancellations/postponements. There was obviously some luck involved, but good fantasy managers will be on top of these things, and cocky ones will be left wondering why they suddenly cannot find a good RB to slot in next week because the Titans vs Bills game was postponed (seriously, that is a real possibility).

Now for a more cocky/lighthearted pat on the back: man do I feel good about getting Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on the same roster. Start them both and let the points fall where they may. Easy peasy.

What We Are Looking Forward to Next Week

What I'm looking forward to is the same thing I'm dreading, so let's put a pin in this

MM: Brandon Aiyuk set the Twitter world on fire last night when he flashed his superhuman athleticism and made a mockery of the Eagles defense. Unfortunately, the QB play from San Francisco was not great, so Aiyuk was left largely relying on that one play for his fantasy points. Still, 13.6 PPR points is a solid performance, and getting more targets than Deebo Samuel is a good sign his relevance will continue. I think fellow rookies Tee Higgins in Cincinnati and CeeDee Lamb in Dallas are more likely to have a better season due to their more explosive offenses, but I really like Aiyuk's prospects going forward, and am excited to see what he does.

What We Are Most Nervous About Going Forward

The phone call scheduled for sometime today amongst GMs, owners, and NFL brass on the subject of how to approach the COVID-19 situation going forward is paramount. I'm equally stoked and nervous to find out how this rumored shutdown/bubble possibility shakes out. Obviously on a selfish level no one wants to see fantasy football come to a halt, but let's be real: the health and safety of the athletes is the most important thing here. 

Like I said on Twitter, how this whole pandemic affects your fantasy team is irrelevant given the real-life implications. No matter what happens, remember that these players are human beings and while a possible shutdown may be annoying, it would be for the greater good assuming that takes place.

MM: Did I waste a draft pick on Michael Gallup? Seriously, where on Earth has the Dallas wide-out been for most of this season? Aside from the standout performance in Week 3 against the awful Seahawks defense, Gallup has been awful. Including that game, Gallup has a poor 13 catches on 25 targets (52% catch rate), and taking away Week 3 it gets truly abysmal, with just 7 catches on a surprisingly respectable 16 targets (43.75% catch rate). The concern going into 2020 was that there simply would not be enough opportunity to feed everyone in Dallas, including RB Ezekiel Elliott who has a literal "Feed Me" tattoo, but that simply has not been the case. Instead, Gallup has just been awful and has left many fantasy managers wondering, what happened to last year's WR22? Unfortunately, I am not sure we will get a satisfying answer in 2020.

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