Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 4

September 30, 2021

Believe it or not, but after this week, we will be a quarter of the way through the NFL season and about one third of the way through the fantasy season. As Marty Brennaman would say, “how we looking?” If you don’t have at least two wins in your pocket by this point, you may be in trouble and certainly need to be heeding my weekly nuggets of ‘Studs, Duds, and Sleepers’ gold!

So, without further delay, let’s dig into my Week 4 gems in this week’s ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers’! 



Tom Brady, TB:

I could see Brady’s return to New England going either way, but my bet is that he blows up, in a good way. 

Josh Allend, Buf:

Allen is accounting for three touchdowns and nearly 300 yards per game through the first three games and the Texans have a bottom 10 defense. I like Allen to have a big game this week. 

Others receiving votes:

Aaron Rodgers, GB:

Since his forgettable Week 1 performance, Rodgers has completed more than 75% of his passes for 500+ yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Even if T.J. Watt is back this week, this is not the same Steelers defense as year’s past. 


Running backs:

Alvin Kamar, NO:

Kamara has found the endzone and surpassed 100 all-purpose yards in two of the Saints first three games and I don’t see the Giants slowing him down this week. I think Kamara finds the endzone at least once this week and surpassed 100 all-purpose yards for the third time in four weeks. .

Derrick Henry, Ten:

Henry leading the NFL in yards per game (117.7) is not surprising, but what is amazing is that he is averaging more than 20 yards per game more than the next closest player (Joe Mixon – 95.3). I don’t see the Jets having much luck stopping Henry this week.   

Others receiving votes:

Jonathan Taylor, Ind:

Taylor has been disappointing thus far. He has yet to find the endzone and hasn’t topped 64 yards rushing either, but he gets a Dolphins defense this week which ranks in the bottom five against the rush, giving up nearly 140 yards per game on the ground. Don’t be surprised if Taylor gets on track this week.  


Pass Catchers:

Rob Gronkowski, NE:

I look for Brady and Gronk to have a huge return to Foxboro this week. Gronk looks to be back to form this year. In a deep and talented group of receivers/tight ends, he is third in targets (20), tied for second in catches (16), third in yards (184) and leads the team with four touchdowns. . 

DJ Moore, Car:

Sam Darnold and Moore have developed a quick chemistry. Through three games, Moore is averaging more than 10 targets, nearly seven catches and 95 yards per game. He and Darnold get a Cowboys defense which is giving up more than 331 yards and two touchdowns per game through the air. 

Others receiving votes:

Julio Jones, Ten:

With A.J. Brown week-to-week with a hamstring injury, that should mean big things for Henry and Jones. Jones is averaging six targets and four catches per game, and I would expect to hit on the over on both of those this week. 




Justin Fields, Chi:

In Week 2, the Bears fans were calling for Fields…after one and a half games of watching Fields, they may be wanting Andy Dalton back. Fields has looked bad the last two weeks, and though the Lions defense should provide a more favorable matchup than the Bengals and Browns defenses, Fields has barely completed 30% of his passes (12-33) over the last six quarters and is averaging just four yards per attempt. 

Ben Roethlisberger, Pit:

Through three weeks, Ben looks like a 39 year old quarterback behind a terrible offensive line. He is barely averaging six yards per attempt and has a 1-1 touchdown to interception ratio. Things aren’t going to get better this week against the Packers.

Others receiving votes:
Lamar Jackson, Bal:

Jackson is running the ball well this year, but his passing, despite playing three bad defenses, has been anything but impressive. This week he gets a Broncos defense which is giving up less than 60 yards per game on the ground and just 162 through the air. Don’t be surprised to see Jackson struggle this week in Denver.


Running backs:

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:

Elliott’s struggles continue. Through two games, Tony Pollard has more rushing yards than Elliott and has two touchdowns to Elliott’s zero…despite having nearly half the carries.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:

Going into the blowout of the Eagles last week, Elliott had just 104 yards in the Cowboys first two games. I think the Eagles game was a one-off for Elliott and look for the NFL’s top ranked run defense (Panthers) to bottle Elliott up this week. Through three weeks, the Panthers have surrendered just 135 rushing yards…total! That is also 25 yards less than the Eagles surrendered on the ground on Monday night alone.

Others receiving votes:

Ty’Son Williams, Balt:

Like Jackson, I think Williams finds the sledding tough this week in Denver. I would leave Williams on the bench this week. . 


Pass Catchers:

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pit: 

JuJu is getting touches – 4+ per game – but not doing much with them. Through three games, he he is averaging less than 40 yards per game and his totals are trending down. Targets have gone 8, 7, 4 and yards have gone 52, 41, 25. He got banged up last week and is relying on an old quarterback working behind a terrible offensive line.

Brandin Cooks, Hou:

Cooks has been a big surprise this year, ranking third in receiving yards (322) and receptions (23), but I don’t like the matchup this week on the road in Buffalo, going up against the fourth ranked passing defense. Look for Cooks to come back to earth this week.

Others receiving votes:

Marquise Brown, Bal:

Brown is getting more than seven targets and 70+ yards per week, but he has played three bad defenses and nearly 50% of his yards have come on three long receptions. I don’t see Brown getting behind the Broncos defense this week.  . 




Ryan Tannehill, Ten:

Tannehill has been average thus far in 2021, but like Henry and Jones above, I like the matchup this week against the Jets. Starting anyone against the Jets this year is likely to be a strong strategy.

Jalen Hurts, Phi:

Through three games, the Chiefs defense has been brutal, and Hurts ability to both throw and run is going to be a nightmare for the Chiefs. The Eagles may not win, but I think Hurts has a big day.

Kirk Cousins, Min:

Cousins could just live on this list every year. Every year he gets no fantasy respect and all he does is put up numbers. Cousins has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in 2021, is averaging more than 300 yards per game and completing nearly 74% of his passes.


Running backs:

Miles Sanders, Phi:

Sanders hasn’t done much this year, but the Chiefs defense – particularly their run defense – is terrible. They are giving up more than 160 yards per game and have allowed a league high seven rushing touchdowns through three games.

The Raiders Starting Running Back:

Given the Raiders backfield, I am not sure who will start this week, but whomever it is, they are worth a fantasy start. The Chargers are giving up a league worst 170 yards per game on the ground, and gave up 90 to Antonio Gibson, 100+ to Tony Pollard and 100 to Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Brandon Bolden, NE:

In weeks one and two, James White had 12 catches and 13 targets. With him being carted off last week, someone is going to get those dump offs and my money is on Bolden. He may be worthy of a flex play if you are in a pinch.  



Pass Catchers:

Jakobi Meyers, NE:

Meyers is averaging nearly 10 targets per game and has pulled in 19 for 176 yards. While he hasn’t found the endzone yet, he is getting the targets. I expect the Patriots to either be down big this week or in a shootout, either way, that should mean the possibility for lots of targets for Meyers. 

Deebo Samuel, SF:

He probably shouldn’t be a ‘Sleeper’ any more, but I’m not sure most realize how good Samueal is playing thus far…and therefore I am deeming him a ‘Sleeper.’ Samuel is second in the NFL with 334 yards, is seeing 10 targets per game and pulling in nearly seven catches per game. He is a WR1 right now, and with a favorable matchup against the Seahawks, this is a good week to rely on Samuel.

Tim Patrick, Den:

Most of the time you wouldn’t start a receiver against the Ravens defense, but this year, the Ravens are 30th in the NFL, giving up nearly 315 yards per game through the air.Patrick is second on the team in receptions (12) and yards (174) and leads the team with two touchdowns. With KJ Hamler out, that should mean more opportunities for Patrick.


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