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“Expect the unexpected” is a perfect way to sum up Week 4. We saw everything from starters getting benched to out-of-the-blue superstar performances. Despite the twists and turns, there were some performances that stood out more than others.
Here are a few takeaways from Week 4.
“All Hail Cordarrelle"
Is Patterson the best RB/WR in the league?
OK, that’s an exaggeration, but he sure looked like it in Week 4. Patterson didn’t do much rushing-wise, posting just six rushing attempts for 34 yards. However, he was efficient as a receiver, posting 5 receptions on 6 targets for 82 yards and 3 touchdowns. Patterson really padded the stat sheet finishing as the RB1 and the WR3 overall, respectively, on the week. It’s hard to believe that he is currently the RB3 and the WR8 for the season.
But has Patterson finally taken the RB1 role from Mike Davis?
The good: Cordarrelle Patterson's finishes over the last three games: RB4, RB19, currently RB1.
The bad: Saw his lowest running back rush share today of 23.1% (first three game average of 35%).
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 3, 2021
Well, it doesn’t seem like the Atlanta Falcons are on board with this idea just yet. Davis played almost 67 percent of snaps and had a 43 percent opportunity share, but he was inefficient with his touches. He had 13 rushes for 14 yards, 2 receptions on 2 targets. On the season, he is playing 67% of snaps; 52% opportunity share, and a 12% target share.
Meanwhile, Patterson is only playing 34% of snaps and seeing a 36.4% opportunity share. However, Patterson has finally passed Davis in target share on the season (13.5% to 12.2%). So will Patterson be able to keep putting up these numbers on such few snaps and opportunities?
Cordarelle Patterson through the first 4 weeks:
RB2 in PPR
WR8 in PPR
34% of offensive snaps
ADP in 27th round
He's currently a fantasy football cheatcode, but this pace seems almost impossible to sustain. pic.twitter.com/yYimTRkFcd
— Dave Kluge (@DaveKluge) October 4, 2021
It’s not impossible, but not probable either. Patterson’s efficiency has been off the charts, but it will be difficult to sustain without more volume. He is even outperforming Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. The positive news is that Davis’ 42% opportunity share in Week 4 was his lowest on the season. This, and Patterson’s weekly performances could be a positive sign that he may get more involved in the coming weeks.
Patterson will have a tougher matchup in Week 5 against the New York Jets. Yes, it’s easy to make fun of the 32nd-ranked Jets offense, but their defense is ranked 14th overall, 12th in passing yards allowed. Let’s see if Patterson can keep up this ungodly pace against a difficult matchup.
Another passer has entered the land of dual-threat quarterbacks. His name is ... Sam Darnold?!
Darnold looked a lot like Cam Newton this week, rushing six times for 35 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Darnold also had 301 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 INTs. He finished the week as QB1 overall and is currently QB5 on the season. Also, guess who leads the league in rushing touchdowns? Not Lamar Jackson. Not Kyler Murray. Sam Darnold does. He is obviously having himself a career year so far, but how good has Darnold been compared to his Jets’ days?
ANOTHER Sam Darnold touchdown!!!
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/FJJlYqknYW
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 3, 2021
Let’s just say the “Escape from Gase” narrative has done wonders for Darnold. His 5 rushing touchdowns this season are tied with the total number of rushing touchdowns he had in three years with the Jets. Darnold already has three games over 300 passing yards; he only had four such games with New York. Thankfully, it looks like Darnold left those ghosts behind. Is it possible he'll continue at this QB1 pace?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, yes. Darnold is ranked ninth in passing attempts and sixth in passing yards. He finished Week 4 as the QB1 overall, without his best weapon in Christian McCaffrey. Darnold should continue his reign of terror in Week 5 against the 24th-ranked Philadelphia Eagles’ defense. Even though the Eagles’ defense is ranked seventh in passing yards, they are 30th in rushing yards allowed, which should allow Darnold to thrive.
Did the Dolphins forget that Myles Gaskin is their RB1?
Gaskin only had two rushes for 3 yards, playing just a measly 23% of snaps with a 12.5% opportunity share in Week 4, which was in complete contrast to his 56% opportunity share in weeks prior. So, if Gaskin wasn’t the Dolphins RB1, then who was?
Myles Gaskin 💀💀💀
2-minute offense: 0%
Malcolm Brown — the great — has seized the day.
67%, 37%, 57%, 75%, 75%, 100%#INDvsMIA
— Context Matters (@dwainmcfarland) October 3, 2021
The one and only fantasy superstar Malcolm Brown has taken over as the Dolphins’ RB1. Even though I’m being a tad facetious, he really was treated like the No. 1 option in Week 4. Brown played 67% of snaps and had a 56% opportunity share. Even Salvon Ahmed had more production than Gaskin. Surprisingly, Ahmed saw the highest target share among the backs (6.7%). So what does all this mean for Gaskin going forward?
Gaskin is going to be nice and comfortable on my bench until further notice, but I would not advise dropping him just yet. Even though Brown and Ahmed outperformed Gaskin, Week 4 was hopefully an outlier and we can see Gaskin reclaiming his RB1 role in Week 5 against the 23rd-ranked Buccaneers' defense. Despite the Buccaneers being the best rushing defense, they are the worst passing defense. The 31st-ranked Dolphins’ offense happens to be 11th in passing attempts, which should favor Gaskin since he is the best pass-catching running back on the team.
A one and a million “Lance”
This is what we have been waiting for! Unfortunately, we didn’t want it to happen like this.
Trey Lance took over in the second half after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a calf injury. Lance ... looked like a rookie QB. He only had a 50% completion rate for 157 passing yards. However, he had 2 passing touchdowns, including this 70-yard bomb to Deebo Samuel:
— NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2021
Lance also had seven rushing attempts for 41 yards, including a 2-point conversion. Despite only playing one half, he finished with 20.38 FP and is the QB14 on the week. He was also fourth in rushing yards, ahead of guys like Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Daniel Jones. Based on this performance, are we confident he is the better option compared to Garoppolo?
Yes, yes, and more yes. Garoppolo hasn’t been bad, he just hasn’t been great. Before his injury in Week 4, he was 14 for 23 for 195 yards, 1 passing TD, and one interception. From Weeks 1-3, Jimmy G was QB21 on the season. He ranked 19th in passing yards and tied for seventh in passing touchdowns. He also does not provide any production on the ground. Lance had more rushing yards in Week 4 than Garoppolo has had in his last 6 games combined. Additionally, Garoppolo has also suffered the injury bug throughout his career, only playing a full season once back in 2019. So now that it seems like Garoppolo will be out a few weeks due to his injury, how should we value Lance for fantasy purposes?
This should be obvious; in fantasy land, we LOVE our rushing QBs. Lance should be ranked as a borderline QB1 as long as Garoppolo is out. He does have a difficult opponent in the 9th-ranked Arizona Cardinals in Week 5. However, Lance can take advantage of his rushing ability as the Cardinals are ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed.