The injuries continue to mount heading into Week 4, likely leaving your fantasy football teams in need of some serious TLC. Kate Magdziuk delivers her favorite Week 4 flex plays to get you the win, whether 3-0 or 0-3.
Curtis Samuel vs. Houston Texans
Curtis Samuel was training camp’s darling, filling Twitter timelines across the globe with highlights of deep balls taken to the house against soft defensive coverage. He received plenty of hype from beat reports and fans alike, who argued that he could indeed be the wide receiver to own in Carolina. Unfortunately, the Panthers are navigating Cam Newton’s Lisfranc injury, leaving them to adjust the offensive system to meet the needs of the backup quarterback, Kyle Allen.
There were several things to note in Allen’s first start of 2019, but perhaps the most relevant is the target split between D.J. Moore and Samuel. Moore came up with a 52-yard touchdown to save his day, but on the whole, it was the Samuel show, and this is just the matchup to see him shine again. The Texans lost several pieces on defense in the 2019 off-season, including Tyrann Mathieu and Jadeveon Clowney. Carolina wide receivers have the second most favorable matchup in Week 4, using the RotoViz Fantasy Streaming App.
Carolina ranks second among teams for most favorable WR matchups, using the Fantasy Streaming App tool.
John Ross vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Bengals travel to Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football, and, lucky for them, the Steelers secondary has been reliable in one area: giving up the big play. Ross got off to a rough career start, battling both injuries and drops to total just 502 yards in his first two seasons. Remarkably, without the presence of A.J. Green, Ross has somehow managed to eclipse more than half of his total career yardage in just three games.
Ross had a down week against the Bills, but then again, most wide receivers do. He showcased some of his most elegant drops and managed just 22 yards on six targets. So far this season, Ross has a 35% market share of the team’s air yards and should continue in that type role until Green’s eventual return. He’s got the speed to blow by the Steelers’ leaky secondary, and it would not be surprising to see him finish with a monster game in Week 4.
Josh Jacobs vs. Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy owners may be getting antsy to see more highlight plays and fantasy production from Josh Jacobs heading into Week 4. After a splash-start to the season, Jacobs has undoubtedly seen a smaller workload than fantasy owners would prefer. He saw just ten carries in last week’s matchup versus the Vikings, which would concern anyone just looking at the box score. However, Jacobs was dealing with a head cold leading up to the matchup that left him requiring IV fluids and undoubtedly attributed to the limited workload.
Despite the low carry counts in the last two weeks, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in this week’s matchup against the Colts. Coach Jon Gruden continues to speak highly of Jacobs, stating that he’d like to get him more involved in the passing game. Further involvement in the passing game would be good news for fantasy owners and likely good news for the Raiders. Given Jacobs’ proficiency to catch the ball in Alabama, it’s a surprise that the Raiders have not chosen to exploit this skill a bit more on the season. Regardless, the Colts have allowed four total touchdowns to RBs on the season. There should be plenty of room for Jacobs to eat as a Week 4 flex, as long as he sees the volume we know he deserves.
Chris Thompson vs. New York Giants
Yes, Chris Thompson in the flex may sound cringe-worthy, but hear me out. Adrian Peterson continues to be on the outside looking in when it comes to his favorability with the coaching staff after being a healthy scratch in Week 1. He spent most of their Monday night matchup against the Bears pouting on the sidelines after averaging 3.1 yards per carry on 12 attempts and looking generally ineffective. He failed to convert on a crucial third and 1 that led up to the Case Keenum fumble, likely not helping his rapport with the coaching staff.
Although the pass catchers have seemed few and far between in Washington, Thompson continues to be a go-to guy as Washington seems always to be playing from behind. He’s amassed 23 targets already on the season, and although the sample size is small, has looked like a decent runner in comparison to Peterson.
Negative game script has kept Chris Thompson on the field so far in 2019 – ahead of Adrian Peterson.
This week, Washington gets the Giants, who have given up the sixth-most rushing yards on a per-game basis so far in 2019 and average a touchdown given up per game. As long as Washington’s defense continues to give up points, Thompson will likely be in the mix for low-end RB2 consideration in PPR leagues and has plenty of upside as a Week 4 flex.
LeSean McCoy vs. Detroit Lions
Kansas City RB LeSean McCoy surprised just about everyone in Week 3 after limping into the stadium with an ankle injury. Despite limited usage, he somehow managed 7.27 yards per touch in a tough matchup against the Ravens defense. This week, they get the Lions who are averaging the sixth-most fantasy points given up per game to the running back. They’re also averaging the second-most receiving yards to the RB per game, perfect for a guy like McCoy who is proficient out of the backfield. Damien Williams remains out with a knee injury, leaving plenty of work for a healthy McCoy as a tasty Week 4 flex play.