We’re early in the season and every fantasy team is still in contention, but things move fast in the NFL. Here’s what you need to know for week four of the 2016 season.
Sammy Watkins, WR BUF
It seemed that this was inevitable, but the Buffalo Bills placed wide receiver Sammy Watkins on the injured reserve list due to complications from his foot injury. Watkins missed last week’s game after suiting up the first two weeks of the season. There is a chance he comes back eight weeks from now, but this is essentially a lost season for the talented wideout. Just as I would suggest with Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, now is the time to send out some trade offers for Watkins if you don’t already own him. He remains a top 15 option at his position, at worst.
Eric Decker, WR NYJ
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Jets wide receiver Eric Decker, who is always underrated in the dynasty football community, will now see his value drop even more due to a torn rotator cuff. Decker has obviously been ruled out for week four and if he needs surgery to repair the injury, could miss much of the season. In his absence, breakout wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will get an even bigger opportunity to contribute.
Josh Gordon, WR CLE
Suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon was expected to be fully reinstated and return to the Cleveland Browns in week five, but there was another segment to this saga in recent days. Gordon surprisingly announced he would put football on hold and check himself in to a treatment facility. Since that announcement, rumors have run wild about the timing and possible causes for this decision. At this point, we know very little, but Browns head coach Hue Jackson alluded to the idea that the team would be moving on without their talented receiver. It seems very unlikely that we’ll see Gordon suit up in 2016 and almost certain that he never wears the Cleveland uniform again. After years of hanging on, Gordon is barely worth a roster spot in most dynasty leagues.
Jonathan Stewart, RB CAR
Panthers starting back Jonathan Stewart is out of action with a hamstring injury and head coach Ron Rivera suggested this week that he could miss up to four more weeks. For a player with Stewart’s injury history, that is enough to all but kill his dynasty value. With Stewart gone, Carolina will rely on Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whitaker. This team almost certainly will address their running back need in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Josh Doctson, WR WAS
Redskins rookie receiver Josh Doctson was a late scratch in week three as his Achilles injury flared up in pre-game warm-ups. Nearly a week later and things don’t seem any better for the former TCU star. Doctson has already been ruled out for week four and head coach Jay Gruden suggested the team could shut down their first round pick for the next couple of weeks. We’ve seen how these things usually go, so don’t be surprised if Doctson misses multiple games going forward.
CJ Spiller, RB SEA
The Seattle Seahawks and running back CJ Spiller have agreed on a one-year contract. Spiller has been out of work since the Saints dumped him following week one’s games. Seattle is still without Thomas Rawls and rookie CJ Prosise is still dealing with a hand injury, which has kept him on the sidelines. Spiller has no real dynasty value, even with one of the top rushing teams in the league.
Jamaal Charles, RB KC
After missing the season’s first three games, veteran running back Jamaal Charles is set to make his season debut for Kansas City in week four. His backup, Spencer Ware, has played at a high level to open the season, but this will be Charles job as long as he can stay healthy and show he’s fully recovered from last year’s knee injury. Charles has a chance to be a league winner down the stretch for contending teams that bought low or held on to him through the injury and rehab.
Dez Bryant, WR DAL
In week three, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant went down with an apparent leg injury after a nasty tackle, but returned just a few plays later. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of this issue as further tests showed Bryant had a hairline fracture in his knee. He’ll miss week four and there have been some suggestions this could be another multiple week injury for the Cowboys superstar.
Wendell Smallwood, RB PHI
With veteran Ryan Mathews dealing with an injury last week, the Eagles leaned on rookie running back Wendell Smallwood and he delivered. Smallwood totaled 79 rushing yards and scored his first career touchdown. Head coach Doug Pederson praised Smallwood and also admitted the team would continue to use a rotation in the backfield, even when Mathews was fully healthy.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE NYJ
After being waived by the Buccaneers last week following his DUI arrest, the New York Jets claimed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. No team in the league need tight end help more than the Jets, who gave up on their own former second round pick Jace Amaro just before the season began. Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has rarely made use of his tight ends in the past, but the good news is ASJ could quickly ascend to a significant role with the team, considering the current depth chart at the position.
Dwayne Washington, RB DET
With running back Ameer Abdullah out for the year with a foot injury, the Lions will stick with a duo of Theo Riddick and rookie Dwayne Washington. Riddick should continue his role as the pass-catching back and multiple reports say that Washington will see a larger role going forward. If you’re in a dynasty league with limited roster spots, he might even still be available on waiver wires. Don’t hesitate to grab him and possibly even use him as a starting option.
Jordan Howard, RB CHI
Leading up to week three, beat writers suggested the Bears could begin giving rookie running back Jordan Howard a larger role at the expense of struggling back Jeremy Langford. While Howard was not a highly ranked prospect, this is a move many saw coming. On Sunday Night Football, Howard was indeed seeing more touches and that number grew as Langford went down with an ankle injury. We’d later find out Langford is out of action for up to six weeks, meaning Howard will be the Bears starter for the majority of the fantasy football regular season. If Howard plays well, Langford almost certainly will not get his job back.
Shane Vereen, RB NYG
On the same week he claimed the starting job for the New York Giants with Rashad Jennings out of action, Shane Vereen also suffered a torn triceps. The injury landed Vereen on the injured reserve list, though there is a chance he could return at some point. Until then, the Giants will use Jennings, once healthy, Orleans Darkwa and possibly rookie Paul Perkins.
Christine Michael, RB SEA
With Thomas Rawls set to miss multiple weeks due to a lower leg injury, Christine Michael responded with the best game of his career, rushing for over 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Like some of the other players already mentioned, Michael has a huge opportunity moving forward due to the injury of a teammate. Michael could be closing in on being considered a top ten dynasty running back.
Terrelle Pryor, WR CLE
The Browns needed someone to step up and that player was quarterback turned wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who did it all in the Browns near win over Miami. Pryor caught eight passes for 144 yards, rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown and even relived a momentarily injured Cody Kessler at quarterback, throwing for 35 yards. This was by far the best game of Pryor’s professional career and with teammate Josh Gordon’s Cleveland career all but over, Pryor should play a huge role in this offense for the next several weeks.
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