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Under-The-Radar Booms and Busts: Week 4


There are going to be a few familiar fantasy football faces missing this week, and not because of injuries.

The first week of byes are upon us, fantasy folks! If you own any New York Jets (if so, I feel sorry for you) or San Francisco 49ers, you will need to find other alternatives to fill your starting lineup, and if you play in one-day fantasy contests than you are not going to have Le’Veon Bell, George Kittle or Jimmy Garoppolo winning you thousands of dollars this weekend. But if you need some under-the-radar booms and busts from other teams, you came to the right place.

Coming on the heels of Mitchell Trubisky, Taylor Gabriel and Greg Olsen making me look like Nostradamus in my last column, I am ready to give fantasy players another round of booms and busts! Here are my under-the-radar booms and busts for Week 4! Good luck, RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 4 Under-the-Radar Booms

Carlos Hyde (HOU, RB) vs. CAR

Hyde has certainly landed on his feet after it appeared his fantasy value was going to be zero as Kansas City’s No. 3 RB or as a tailback in the XFL. He has become Houston’s starting RB after a fortuitous chain of events and is averaging 14 touches per game. Carolina’s 24th-ranked run defense has been disappointing, and don’t you feel like rookie rifleman Kyle Allen is going to come back down to Earth in his second start in place of Cam Newton? I can see Hyde rumbling for 100-plus yards between the tackles and finding the end zone once or twice, possibly after an Allen interception leaves Houston’s offense inside the 10-yard-line.

Eric Ebron (IND, TE) vs. OAK

Fantasy players with half a brain knew Ebron was not going to duplicate what he did last season when he led all tight ends in touchdowns, but he has gotten off to a slower start than everyone expected, especially since quarterback Jacoby Brissett has played extremely well. Ebron only has seven catches for 80 yards and a TD over his opening three games, but he may match those numbers this Sunday versus Oakland’s 25th-ranked pass defense. With T.Y. Hilton questionable with a quad injury and no other receiver on the roster who scares secondaries, watch for Ebron to be leaned on heavily and look like the player he was in 2018.

Christian Kirk (ARI, WR) vs. SEA

Have you ever seen a wide receiver do less with 10 receptions than Kirk did last weekend? 59 yards? His longest gain was 13 yards? Wow. The good news for Kirk is he will be getting “covered” by a Seattle secondary that no longer has Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman or any other “Legion of Boom” members. The only reason the Seahawks pass defense has not allowed more yards (250 per game) is because the three quarterbacks they faced were Andy Dalton, Mason Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater. I am penciling Kirk in for eight receptions, 12 targets, 100 yards and a visit to the end zone.

 

Week 4 Under-the-Radar Busts

Gardner Minshew (JAC, QB) at DEN

You have to love this guy’s moustache and the fact that he has been more than serviceable since taking over for the injured Nick Foles. But fantasy players cannot like that Minshew has to find open receivers against Denver’s staunch secondary. The Broncos are ranked sixth against the pass and will be downright desperate for a win at home since they are 0-3 and their season is on the line. Aaron Rodgers only threw for 235 yards and one touchdown against Denver, so odds are Minshew is looking at 180 yards with a TD and two picks. Pro Bowl corner Chris Harris might be able to cover the Jags receiving corps by himself.

Irv Smith (MIN, TE) at CHI

It is hard to consider second-rounder Smith as Kyle Rudolph’s heir apparent when the latter signed a long-term contract worth multimillions in the offseason, but Smith has been the more productive tight end of the two thanks to Rudolph only managing 20 receiving yards in his first three games. Smith’s production comes to a grinding halt this Sunday afternoon, however. We all know how fearsome and formidable Chicago’s defense is, and the Bears have yet to allow a tight end to break the 40-yard barrier against them this season. Smith will not be the first, especially if Minnesota realizes that paying Rudolph big bucks and failing to throw to him five-to-seven times per game is a humongous mistake.

Rex Burkhead (NE, RB) at BUF

Burkhead has been New England’s best back from a fantasy perspective through three games, besting both James White and Sony Michel in the rushing and receiving departments. Three-headed backfield monsters never really help anybody fantasy-wise, however, and Burkhead is going to feel the pinch this week in a battle of undefeated AFC East squads. Buffalo is ranked in the top 10 in run defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense. So Burkhead is looking at 10 touches tops against one of the best defenses in the NFL, and the guy is banged-up again (questionable with a foot injury). Have you ever see someone who plays so little get injured more often than Burkhead does?  Me neither. Stay away, stay very far away.

Kenny Stills (WR, HOU) vs. CAR

I know Houston needed another receiver because Will Fuller and Keke Coutee have a harder time staying healthy than 90-year olds at a nursing home, but when Stills was thrown in with tackle Laremy Tunsil during their preseason blockbuster with Miami it made no sense to me. Stills is the same type of home run threat that Fuller is, and the Texans implement an offense that revolves around passing to DeAndre Hopkins 10-15 times a game. I understand Stills is coming off an 89-yard outing, but the man is averaging four targets a week and in his career against Carolina has averaged 41 yards per game and has never scored in five contests. I am avoiding Stills until he either plays against Arizona or Cleveland, or whenever Fuller has his annual injury.

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