Matt Ryan, Tom Brady offer fantasy brain-teaser

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Marcas Grant: This was a common question in my mentions this week and understandably so. Matt Ryan has been the best quarterback in fantasy football through the first four weeks of the season. But he has a frightening matchup on the road against the Denver Broncos. Tom Brady is Tom Brady and has a cherry matchup against the Cleveland Browns. If Ryan has shown anything in the first month, it's that he has a pretty high ceiling but this week he also has pretty low floor against a defense that has yet to allow a 200-yard passing game this season. Conversely, Brady's ceiling could be limited if the Patriots jump out to a sizable lead (as expected) and turn the game over to LeGarrette Blount to close it out. However his floor isn't nearly a low this week which makes him an overall safer play. And don't worry, we promise not to tell Matt Ryan if you don't start him.

whispers Everyone tell Matt Ryan if Lord Moore doesn't start him.

M.G.: It's amazing the difference a couple of touchdowns can make. Through four games last season, Odell Beckham had 24 catches for 307 yards and two scores. This season he has 22 receptions for 303 yards. The only change is that he hasn't found the end zone. That's really the only difference -- which is another reminder that touchdowns are a fickle beast. In theory, Week 5 offers a chance to get healthy against a Packers secondary that has been torched lately. The only concern could be if Sam Shields returns from a concussion to line up against OBJ. After that follows a tough stretch against the Ravens, Rams, Eagles and Bengals. But as long as he continues to be the most-targeted player in the Giants offense, you just have to believe that he'll eventually find the end zone.

M.G.: I'm extremely optimistic about Graham going forward. It seems that the Seahawks have finally figured out how to incorporate the playmaker into the offense while he and Russell Wilson are finding a rapport. Graham has been Seattle's most-targeted player over the past two weeks and has delivered with back-to-back 100-yard games. We all know that he's a nightmare matchup for defenses when he's right. As Russell Wilson continues to get healthier, Graham will only be more dangerous. If he can add clarity to an otherwise muddy tight end position, it would be a good thing.

M.G.: It was very encouraging last week to read reports that Tyler Eifert was back on the practice field and angling for a Week 5 return. It's unknown how much of a workload he'll see after missing the first month of the season but he should seen plenty of snaps when the Bengals get into the red zone. Through the first four weeks no team has been less efficient inside the opponent's 20-yard line than the Bengals, who score touchdowns on fewer than 31 percent of their trips. It was apparent how much the Bengals missed Eifert in that area last week when they had first-and-goal from the 2-yard line and settled for a Mike Nugent field goal. If nothing else, Eifert's touchdown-upside should be high against the Cowboys this week.

M.G.: This year's Panthers defense hasn't looked like the unit that dominated during the team's run to the Super Bowl in 2015. In actual football terms, Carolina is ranked 28th in total defense but in fantasy terms the Panthers are the ninth-best unit in the game. That disparity is thanks to nine sacks, seven takeaways and a pair of touchdowns. Giving up nearly 30 points per game isn't ideal, but it doesn't have quite the same negative effect on fantasy rosters. This week offers a tasty matchup against the Buccaneers who have given the ball away 11 times (second-most in the league) while allowing 10 sacks in four contests. This defense might not be quite as suffocating, but there's no reason to panic on them just yet.

M.G.: There's a very good reason to be nervous about starting DeAndre Hopkins this week. A large part of it has to do with a Vikings defense that has allowed the second-fewest receiving yards to wideouts and has shut down Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham, Jr. in consecutive weeks. But there's also the matter of Hopkins seeing a significantly smaller share of the targets in the offense. With Will Fuller making an immediate impact, there are other options in the Texans passing game -- something that didn't exist last season. Travis Benjamin hasn't always been the top target for Philip Rivers, but he's still been a primary option with seven targets per game. Plus it's hard to fade any receivers against a bad Raiders secondary right now. Don't sleep on Isaiah Crowell either, who has quietly been a legitimate RB1 so far and has particularly excelled when facing eight or more in the box.

M.G.: It's hard to paint a picture where Todd Gurley suddenly morphs into a consistent RB1 for the remainder of the season. Remember when I wrote that Isaiah Crowell has been good against stacked boxes? Well, Gurley has been #ungood in those same situations. A large portion of that is owed to an offensive line that's been inconsistent with run blocking. The upcoming schedule won't do Gurley any favors, either. The Rams' next five games are against the Bills, Giants, Lions, Panthers and Jets -- none of whom have been particularly kind to running backs. Law of Averages suggests there could be a couple of big weeks coming for Gurley, but they could be too few and far between to make him worth a trade investment.

M.G.: Definitely. But make sure that you have plenty of depth to hold you in good stead until he returns from his groin and hamstring injuries ... whenever that is. When the veteran is back in the lineup, he'll likely resume his role as the lead back in Adam Gase's offense. And not a moment too soon. The Dolphins have used a four-man running back rotation over the past two games with no one back seeing more than nine carries in either game. That should change when Foster returns, which is good news. The bad news is that he's already reminded us how fragile he can be. Keep that in mind if you decide to put in a waiver claim for him.

M.G.: This is potentially a tricky situation this week. Because Cam Newton and the Panthers are playing on Monday night (and Jameis Winston is likely unavailable in your league), you might be forced to make a decision on your quarterback spot on Sunday morning. If Newton plays, there's no way you're going to sit him against the Buccaneers defense. It's hard to have the same level of confidence in Derek Anderson, who could post a big number ... or give you next to nothing. A few potential quarterback streaming options this week include Trevor Siemian (vs. ATL), Carson Wentz (at DET) or Joe Flacco (vs. WAS). Keep a close eye on the injury reports as Cam goes through the concussion protocol this week.

M.G.: I'm not sure there's one standard answer to this. Some players have one good game and you can tell that they have the potential to be really productive players (see: West, Terrance). Other players can have a couple of nice games in a row and still leave doubts (see: Quick, Brian). It's really about watching a guy play with your own eyes to determine his ability and his offensive situation and not fully rely on the stat sheets. I'm sure that helped not at all, but ... shrug emoji.

Bonus question:

M.G.: I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

In the latest episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast, the crew recaps Week 3, tells if you should be worried about the biggest disappointments of the week and dives into the Week 4 waiver-wire. Don't forget to subscribe to the show or download each episode HERE!

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who watched Westworld and now wonders how many of his co-workers are androids. Send him fantasy football questions or signs for spotting humanoids on Twitter @MarcasG or Snapchat at marcasg9.

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