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Things I Learned in Fantasy Football: Week 4

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Takeaways from Week 4 as told through @MarcasG's tweets.

Okay, I admit to being wrong about Wayne Gallman this week. Maybe I gave the Washington defense too much credit (not likely). Maybe I read too much into his usage in Week 3 (probably). Either way, the Giants gave their backup running back plenty of opportunity and he took advantage of it in a big way. Deep down, I should have realized that this was always a potential blow-up spot for Gallman. Kids, let this be a lesson about hubris. I will remain a skeptic next week when the Giants welcome the Vikings defense to the Meadowlands. I will once again be prepared to apologize in this space if Gallman again succeeds.

Being the cautious sort that I am, I want to be optimistic about what the Titans passing game put on film this week. But I'm also reminding myself that the Falcons have had a way of making a lot of opposing offenses look good this season. Atlanta has trailed by two scores or more in the second half of every game this season. The good news is that anyone who started Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins or any other part of the Texans passing game can expect bouncebacks next week. It also means that the Titans are very likely to come back to Earth in Week 5 when they take on a Bills defense that kept the clamps on Tom Brady and the Patriots this week.

Speaking of Nuk and the Texans ... it wasn't great this week. In fact, it hasn't been particularly great for Hopkins for three straight weeks now. Week 4 was a low point (so far) with just 7.1 fantasy points and an INTERCEPTION. That's not a mistake. The Texans tried a gadget play that featured Nuk throwing a pass -- and he threw it to the other team. What's more disconcerting than trick plays gone awry is the fact that Nuk's targets are down, even more so in the past three weeks. Hopefully things turn around next week against the Falcons, otherwise it will really be time to worry.

This week's early games were a wasetland of non-relevant players racking up fantasy points. Pope, Seals-Jones, Trevor Davis, Foster Moreau, and Ito Smith were among the players that likely stole some of your joy on Sunday. I have no real analysis other than to remind you that sometimes fantasy football makes no sense and will break your heart.

Not long after I sent this tweet, Winston threw a pick-six to Marcus Peters. But overall, the point stands. Ever since a disastrous Week 1 game against the 49ers, Winston has shown steady improvement. Putting up 25 points against a bad Giants defense was one thing. Going on the road and dropping nearly 30 points against a Rams team that was allowing fewer than 8.5 points per game to quarterbacks is something else entirely. In fairness, a lot of credit should go to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who has Arians' total confidence and called a great game on Sunday. Winston will still have his bumps along the way but maybe this new offense will truly be the thing that helps Jameis reach his potential.

In the end, it was Ronald Jones having the bigger day in his return to his old college stadium. But it's worth noting that as tough as the Rams have been on quarterbacks this season, they've been fairly pliable against running backs. It's not exactly a new thing. Los Angeles gave up the 10th-most rushing yards last season. Keep that in mind with Los Angeles heading north next week to take on the Seattle Seahawks. As for the Buccaneers backfield, we'd like to believe that maybe this signals that Tampa is settling on one running back but I don't really think that's going to be the case. Sigh.

Ronald Jones wasn't the only former USC Trojan to have a big day at the Coliseum. Robert Woods posted 13 catches for 164 yards, restoring hope for all of his fantasy managers. Of course, Cooper Kupp had another big day (9/121/1), which is sort of his thing. This is the way of the Rams offense. With three legitimate playmaking targets, it might be hard to pinpoint which one will have the big day in any given week. But you can't really sit any of them because, well, it might be hard to pinpoint which one will have the big day in any given week.

Through the first three weeks, we wondered why Todd Gurley hadn't been a part of the Rams passing game (just six targets). In Week 4, Gurley was targeted 11 times with seven catches for 54 yards. That's fun! But he had just five carries. For the whole game. That's not fun. You could blame some of it on game script after the Bucs ran out to a 21-0 lead, although that doesn't explain why Gurley had no carries in the first quarter. The two touchdowns disguised the running back's inconsistent usage but at this point, it's hard to discern any rhyme or reason as to what the Rams are doing with Gurley.

In case you forgot, the Broncos can still rush the passer. One of the NFL's biggest mysteries through three weeks was how a unit that employed Von Miller and Bradley Chubb failed to register a single sack. This week, Denver got to Gardner Minshew five times. For their next trick, Denver might try winning a game. But at least we know that this defense at least still has a little juice.

And then there's this. Leonard Fournette's 225 rushing yards was definitely on the high end of things but there's not a lot of reason to fear starting running backs against the Denver defense. Going back to last season, it's now nine straight games in which the Broncos defense has allowed at least 80 rushing yards and/or a touchdown. Seems like a good spot for Melvin Gordon to make his return to the field next week.

Wait...what?


* The Kalen Ballage experiment may be over. He was outsnapped by Mark Walton, 13-5.

* Christian McCaffrey led both teams in both rushing and receiving.

* Tyrell Williams had 105 receiving yards in Week 1. He's had 111 yards since then.

And one for the road...


Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is thinking about walking down the street in search of an ice cream bar. Send him your junk food cravings or fantasy football questions via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.

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