The Dolphins' quarterback could be FitzMagic for fantasy owners on Sunday because of his matchup
Week 4 of the fantasy football season is upon us and it's not without drama. The Tennessee Titans have had a number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and as a result, their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed. Essentially Week 4 is being treated as an early bye week for the Steelers and Titans and the game will likely be played in Week 7. Then on Saturday morning, news came out that Cam Newton had tested positive for COVID-19 and New England's game in Kansas City would not be played on Sunday (could be moved to Monday or Tuesday). Assuming that no other teams or players are affected, this should hopefully not derail fantasy players too much. Just be sure those players are on your bench for this week.
With the Jets and Broncos done with their game, plenty of fantasy players should still be available to you. There are, as always, injuries to be aware of. Fantasy owners should monitor the injury report, the practice reports, and determine who may not be active in Week 4. Often an injury affects not only that player's backup, but other players on the team as well. This may determine some players performing better or worse than their current rank.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins
Fitzpatrick isn't usually a QB1, but his matchup this week against the Seattle Seahawks may push him close to that range. He's ranked No. 15, but opposing quarterbacks that have faced the Seahawks have exceeded that. In the past three weeks, quarterbacks have averaged 440 passing yards. In the past two weeks, quarterbacks have scored three touchdowns. This defense is currently one to exploit, and it's Fitzpatrick's turn in Week 4.
Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams
Last week, Henderson was in the "5 Up" section of this column and he greatly exceed his ranking. With Cam Akers out, Henderson was given 20 carries. He turned those into 114 yards and a touchdown. Akers is still expected to be out in Week 4, and the Rams face the New York Giants. The Giants' defense isn't great, and Henderson will likely be a focal point of this offense again. He's a solid RB2 and is ranked No. 18, but he should exceed that ranking.
David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
In Week 3, Johnson's fantasy day was saved by the touchdown. He had 13 carries for 23 yards and caught two passes for 23 yards. However, he has faced tough defenses in the past two games. The Texans face the Vikings in Week 4, who have allowed an opposing running back to score a touchdown in each game so far this year. David Johnson should exceed his No. 22 ranking, especially if Duke Johnson is out again this week.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
In Week 1, Parker injured his hamstring, which cost him about half of that game. He's been on the injury report since, getting in limited practices, but not yet missing a game. He scored his first touchdown of the year in Week 2 and then was able to play on a short week for Week 3. Parker has 169 yards on 14 receptions (17 targets). Between the 10 days since the last game and the matchup this week (against Seattle, who is allowing plenty of yards and points to wide receivers), Parker should exceed his No. 25 ranking.
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After Gronk had said he was primarily going to be a blocking tight end, he had seven targets in Week 3. He caught six of them for 48 yards and certainly looked like more than a blocking tight end. In Week 4, the Bucs are going to need pass catchers. Chris Godwin and Justin Watson are injured. Mike Evans will be the main receiver, but the Chargers are likely going to try to take him out of the game. Gronkowski seems to be done shaking the rust off and should exceed his No. 23 ranking this week.
Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots
The Patriots get to face the Chiefs in Week 4. After watching the Chiefs shut down Lamar Jackson in Week 3, it's going to be hard to trust Newton as the No. 10 quarterback. He ceded multiple touchdowns to Rex Burkhead in Week 3, and whether that was just how the plays turned out or an effort by the Patriots to protect their quarterback by not having him handle goal-line work. Newton has really only had one great game (Week 2 vs. Seattle) this year. It's hard to imagine him having a great game against the Chiefs.
Editor's note: On Saturday morning it was reported that Cam Newton had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been placed on the COVID-19/reserve list. He will miss this week's game against Kansas City, which has been postponed for Sunday and could be played either Monday or Tuesday, but nothing has been finalized.
Patriots’ QB Cam Newton tested positive and is out for Sunday’s game vs. Kansas City, per @FieldYates and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 3, 2020
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
In Week 3, it was Ekeler's PPR performance that saved his fantasy day. He had 11 receptions for 84 yards in addition to 59 rushing yards and a touchdown. Ekeler has been a good fantasy running back, but he hasn't had a great game, outside of the PPR dream in Week 3. The Chargers face the Bucs in Week 4, who held Melvin Gordon to 28 rushing yards in Week 3. Ekeler is ranked No. 14, but in non-PPR leagues, he won't reach that. In PPR leagues, he definitely is worth starting and should hit that ranking.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills
While Josh Allen and the Bills have been throwing the ball like crazy, this is going to be a tough matchup for Diggs. They face the Raiders, who have only allowed one touchdown to opposing wide receivers this season. They also have only allowed one opposing wide receiver to have more than 100 yards. The Raiders are a team you can run on (fire up Devin Singletary), but passing has been tougher. Allen has been great and he connected with Diggs (4/49/1 in Week 3), this is going to be a tough game for Diggs. He's ranked No. 11, but he's a WR2.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team faces the Ravens. While the Ravens DST did not perform well on Monday night expect a bounce-back in Week 4. Baltimore is seething after that loss and Washington will be the one to suffer. With a lack of offensive weapons, look for the Ravens to try to take McLaurin out of the game. McLaurin was added to Thursday's injury report with a thigh bruise. This shouldn't be something to keep him out of the game, but any injury isn't going to help, especially against a physical defense. He's ranked No. 12, but this isn't the week to treat him as a WR1.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins
Gesicki has a great matchup against the Seahawks, but ranking him No. 4 seems a bit high. He is touchdown-dependent, as he has two games this year with 30 or fewer yards. His third game, Week 2 against Buffalo, was great, with 130 yards and a touchdown. Which Gesicki will show up in Week 4? It's unclear, and calling him a TE1 is a bit risky, but ranking him in the top five is too high.
Full Disclosure from Week 3
5 Up (2/5 correct)
Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts (Ranked: 17, Actual: 26)
Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams (Ranked: 45, Actual: 11)
Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ranked: 25, Actual: 54)
KJ Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos (Ranked: 79, Actual: 70)
Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants (Ranked: 15, Actual: 34)
5 Down (3/4 correct)
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (Ranked: 11, Actual: 5)
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears (Ranked: 9, Actual: 41)
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 3, Actual: DNP)
Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans (Ranked: 27, Actual: 31)
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions (Ranked: 14, Actual: 15)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.