Shawn Siegele looks at the most explosive wide receiver performances of Week 4 and praises a sudden outburst from the Titans passing game.
The top WR performances in fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE) didn’t come from the usual suspects this week. Instead we had two former first-round busts, last week’s buy-low candidate, a third receiver from a supposedly run-first squad, and an injured player whose status was in doubt.
This was the second straight week where no one managed to crest 20 FPOE and the first week without a Chiefs receiver reaching double digits. The stars were largely held in check, contributing to lower scores across the fantasy environment.
Wide Receiver Fantasy Points Over Expectation – Week 4
|Odell Beckham Jr.||2||7||20||0||11.1||-7.1|
We focus on the six receivers with double-digit FPOE, but you can scroll through the table for every WR from Week 4 — all the way down to Zay Jones (-11.4) at No. 110.
We discussed Brown’s elite prospect profile after a solid performance with 13 points in Week 1. He fit just below N’Keal Harry in our rookie WR rankings, but received the Marquise Brown treatment and slid based on landing spot. In a stark contrast to the breakout we’ve witnessed from Marquise Brown and the Ravens passing game, it appeared that the Titans moribund passing attack would limit Brown’s value, at least in 2019. He followed up a strong opening week with two performances that were low in volume and brutal in efficiency.
Week 4 was a different story as he again flashed the big-play ability that stands out in a receiver with his frame. It took Brown only three targets to gain 94 yards and score twice. His 11.8 yards after the catch per reception is not sustainable, but it illustrates how defensive backs struggle with his combination of size and athleticism.
Brown is a top waiver acquisition this week, but he’s more of a buy-and-flip player in redraft due to his poor overall volume profile.
Brown sits at No. 18 in FPOE on the season, but he only ranks 86th in Expected Points. His peripherals offer little reason for immediate optimism, as his ranks in targets, receptions, and air yards are almost identical. On the other hand, efficiency should lead to more volume. Unfortunately, this was also the week Corey Davis reminded owners that he’s still in the NFL.
Davis entered the day on a seven-game run with negative FPOE. That’s always a bad sign, but it wouldn’t have been as catastrophic if not for the decline in volume that accompanied it.
Davis was an intriguing volume play through Week 10 a season ago, but since that time he’s only averaged 8.0 Expected Points per game. That’s clear WR3 territory, as you can see in the graphic. It also helps explain why he was left off of our list of third-year breakout candidates.
Davis’ 2019 struggles have been mystifying through almost any lens. Marcus Mariota ranks No. 23 in passing EP this season, but after a strong game against Atlanta’s wretched defense, only five QBs have outperformed him in paFPOE (22.7).1 In one week, Mariota went from a near-benching to a player that the offense needs to ride. The same is true of their 2017 top-five pick.
Over the past 20 games, the Titans have a wildly positive split in point differential when they target Davis at least five times. Of course, the takeaway here could be even simpler: Teams that can’t hold Davis in check can’t do much of anything. That’s the direction you lean after watching an Atlanta squad with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley get dominated by the Brown-Davis tandem. But the Titans have managed to feed Davis in 65% of their last 20 games, and the results have been excellent.
Godwin entered the week with a hip injury and exited with a 40-point performance. His monster game provided a decisive edge in his first-month battle for Buccaneers supremacy. Mike Evans may have had the biggest individual week, but Godwin has now taken three out of four. Michelle Magdziuk offered one of the offseason’s best articles when she argued that everyone in Tampa was undervalued. She told you this was coming.
Godwin is racking up some good YAC numbers in the early going and has relegated O.J. Howard to fantasy bench status by sucking up 25% of the team targets. But the sky-high catch rate may be the most surprising element of his profile. Remember last year’s fantasy playoffs when Jameis Winston was peppering him with the highest volume of uncatchable targets anyone had ever seen? Godwin scored -23.2 FPOE from Week 14 to 16 last year. Curtis Samuel (-18.1) and David Moore (-13.4) were the only players within even 10 points of that crazy number.
* You can use the new Weekly Stat Explorer to investigate all of the advanced stats and see where players rank on a weekly basis in any statistical metric.
This is what he looks like in 2019.
Godwin has lassoed 14 of his 15 targets at depths between 10 and 20 yards. If you peruse the location charts for all of the NFL’s best weapons, you’ll find that this intermediate area can be very difficult for even the top receivers. This is the Bruce Arians specialty, and despite some frustrations for Evans and Howard, the Winston-to-Godwin connection has been on fire.2
Snead averaged over 12 PPG during his first two seasons with the Saints. His Baltimore tenure hasn’t offered that upside, but it’s also been slightly better than you may realize.
Snead now has 12 double-digit performances over that span. It’s easy to discount his Week 4 mini-eruption as a TD-generated fluke, but he’s a sneaky play for desperate owners as we enter the heavier bye weeks.
But also, it was a TD-generated fluke, and the floor is very low with two exciting rookies on board.
Drafters weren’t expecting Lamar Jackson to rank No. 3 in paFPOE through the first month, but his deadly efficiency is creating points for the tertiary targets. Brown’s volume suggested he would lead the way against Cleveland, but he got doubled-up in a game where Snead and Miles Boykin caught all five of their targets for 93 yards and two scores. After ranking No. 6 in FPOE through two weeks, Brown has slid back out of the top 30, but his volume has solidified in the top 25. He’s a strong trade target in every format.
Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick both rank in the bottom 10 in paFPOE, and they’ve easily accumulated the most negative FPOE when viewed as a unit.
It’s been a barren wasteland for the Dolphins receivers, but Parker finally managed a performance worthy of his draft slot. Efficiency tends to bounce around, but when first-round picks bust, it’s almost always due to such an insane stretch of poor play that it simply can’t be ignored.
Parker’s 10.3 FPOE is so out of character for both him and his QBs that we shouldn’t expect it again any time soon. But it’s still nice to see this small ray of sunshine for a struggling player and team.
In last Thursday’s deep dive into his time with the Browns, I argued that Landry was a gutsy buy. Even as a true believer, I didn’t expect him to post 167 yards in less than three full quarters of play. The concussion provides a dark ending to a day where he set a new career high in yards.
Want to Explore the Tools from This Article?
If the stats and visuals piqued your interest and you want to research other players you watched this weekend, here are a few of the tools at your disposal.
These are just a few of the research tools at your fingertips. After the conclusion of Week 4 games this evening, we also have a wealth of tools to help you plot your next move.
Have fun with the tools, and good luck in your contests tonight. Curtis Patrick and I need John Ross to outscore Diontae Johnson by 11 points for the victory in our FFPC Main Event. I’m expecting a big game from Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Let’s hope the Steelers funnel everything through JuJu Smith-Schuster in this one.
Image Credit: Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Corey Davis.
- Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, and Matthew Stafford. (back)
- If anything, there may be even more upside for Godwin who hasn’t come down with any of this three deep targets. Evans has struggled below 20 yards but already has five deep receptions for over 200 yards. (back)