What We Saw: Week 4

QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season.

Broncos @ Jets

 

The smell of desperation has lingered around MetLife Stadium for far too long. Guess what, Jets fans? It is here to stay. After a blockbuster Chiefs and Ravens matchup on Monday Night Football, we went from the attic to the cellar for Thursday Night Football as the Broncos visited the Jets in a battle of winless (dare I say hapless) teams. In truth, it was a game littered with broken plays, inaccurate passes, drops, and two pedestrian run games. However, it wasn’t the drab, dire affair that many predicted. It was a bad football game but at least it was entertaining. The Broncos run out 37-28 winners thanks to a sack of Sam Darnold by Bradley Chubb on 4th down immediately followed by a 43-yard Melvin Gordon touchdown run.

You have to wonder, is Adam Gase’s reign in New York over?

 

Denver Broncos

 

Quarterback

 

Brett Rypien: 19/31, 242 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs | 5 carries, -5 yards

Jeff Driskel: 1 carry, 9 yards

 

So, Brett Rypien? In what was a surprise announcement earlier in the week, Vic Fangio named the former undrafted rookie out of Boise State as the starter for this crucial (for the Broncos, anyway) game. It was at times a promising performance from Rypien (14.18 fantasy points on Yahoo!), who showed a good understanding of the playbook and when in rhythm for parts of the second and third quarters looked the part of an NFL starting quarterback. When it was bad, however, it was downright awful. 3 interceptions could have easily been 5 or 6 and his 48-yard touchdown strike to rookie Jerry Jeudy should have actually been intercepted by Pierre Desir.

 

 

The former Colt cornerback snatched a pair of INTs later in the game, one of which was a pick-six. In essence, Rypien nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for his team. What was worrying for fantasy owners was how vulnerable Rypien looked when throwing to his receivers on the outside. He did put his body on the line late in the game to throw a decisive block that allowed Melvin Gordon to run in a touchdown to put the game beyond doubt. The coaching staff will go back and look at the tape but don’t be surprised if Rypien reverts back to the bench next week against the Patriots.

 

Running Backs

 

Melvin Gordon: 23 carries, 107 yards, 2 TDs | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards

Royce Freeman: 3 carries, 6 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 6 yards

 

The only neutrals who came away from this game with a big smile were those who owned Broncos running back Melvin Gordon. The former Charger went off for over 100 yards rushing including 2 trips to the end zone. His second, a 43-yard run as the Broncos were simply trying to run out the clock was a huge bonus as up until that time Gordon had looked very much run of the mill.

 

 

Still, with Phillip Lindsay expected to return next week after missing 3 games with a niggling turf toe injury, it remains to be seen if Gordon continues to receive this kind of workload for the rest of the season. Proceed with caution. Yes, we actually had a Royce Freeman sighting this week. The forgotten man in Denver is only relevant to give Gordon a breather every now and again. He is irrelevant for fantasy purposes unless Gordon goes down.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Tim Patrick: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 113 yards, 1 TD

Jerry Jeudy: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 61 yards, 1 TD

Noah Fant: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 35 yards

DaeSean Hamilton: 3 targets, 1 reception, 9 yards

Nick Vannett: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

Jake Butt: 1 target

 

Without the injured Courtland Sutton, this offense really needed someone to step up and take the initiative for their new quarterback – that man was Tim Patrick. The former Utah receiver has bounced around the league since 2017 with the Ravens, 49ers, and now Broncos, where he spent most of last season on the practice squad. Seizing his opportunity late last year, the 26-year old produced for the second week in a row, amassing 23.30 fantasy points on Yahoo! His TD was a straight 7-yard bullet from Rypien.

 

 

Patrick could well become fantasy relevant as a flex option during the upcoming bye weeks but this will be dictated by the ongoing injury situation in Denver. Both 2020 2nd-round pick K.J Hamler (hamstring) and 2019 1st-round choice Noah Fant (ankle) left the game today and did not return. Sutton is done for the season, so Patrick could be a decent waiver wire add next week.

Jerry Jeudy was a monster at Alabama and was the central cog of that offense. So far he has been underutilized in Denver. The wider receiver had only 2 receptions on 3 targets, which was extremely disappointing considering the aforementioned injuries. Ok, one of them was a 48-yard touchdown but could have easily been intercepted. Jeudy gives Fangio a big-play threat in what is quickly becoming a threadbare offense.

 

 

There were a number of scattered targets to slot-receiver DaeSean Hamilton and tight ends Nick Vannett and Jake Butt. Nothing to note here, though. The Broncos got significant contributions from their defense last night, with Bradley Chubb, in particular, standing out with 3 sacks. The Broncos face the Patriots next week then a 3-game stint against offenses that have shipped points aplenty this year: the Dolphins, Chiefs, and Falcons. Gordon, Lindsay, Patrick, and Jeudy should all be considered flex options for these matchups.

 

New York Jets

 

Quarterback

 

Sam Darnold: 23/42, 230 yards | 6 carries, 84 yards, 1 TD

Joe Flacco: 2/2, 16 yards

 

I am going to start with the good – Sam Darnold is a phenomenal athlete and we saw that midway through the first quarter. Darnold somehow evaded the pass rush from A.J. Johnson and turned an initial scramble on 3rd and 7  from the Broncos 46-yard line into an improbable touchdown run. This has been the story all year for Darnold, who is battling a poor offensive line, a lack of receiving talent, and playcalling that is at best, awful. It is up to Darnold to do it all himself, and that is the problem. Still, 84 yards rushing and a TD is some solace for fantasy owners.

 

 

The bad – a 70.5 passer rating is far from what we want to see from a third-year quarterback. Darnold has not progressed at all under Gase and the now-infamous “I am seeing ghosts” quote from last season is still relevant. He was inaccurate on some simple throws and does not seem to have chemistry with the majority of the receivers, Jamison Crowder excepted. We mentioned the offensive line – Darnold has been sacked in 20 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. Darnold is pretty much the last resort in fantasy until we see both a coaching change and investment in the offensive line and receiving corps. The outlook in New York is grim.

 

Running Backs

 

Frank Gore: 13 carries, 30 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

La’Michael Perine: 5 carries, 15 yards

Kalen Ballage: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards

 

There is literally nothing to say here. Let me scratch around at the bottom of the well and try to find something…nope. All I will say is that a legend like Frank Gore does not deserve to go out in this fashion.

 

 

In all seriousness, it would be good to see more of rookie 4th-round pick La’Michael Perine – the former Florida Gator has seen minimal action so far but did impress back at the combine after recording the 8th most rushing yards in school history for the Gators. What have the Jets got to lose now by giving him the rock to carry for the rest of the year?

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Jamison Crowder: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 104 yards

Jeff Smith: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 81 yards

Chris Hogan: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 23 yards

Chris Herndon: 3 targets, 11 reception, 11 yards

Ryan Griffin: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 10 yards

Braxton Berrios: 3 targets

Lawrence Cager: 2 targets

 

There is no doubt that the guy to own on this roster is Jamison Crowder – the former Washington receiver connected with Darnold for over 100 yards for the second time in only his second game of the season. I wouldn’t say it is an explosive connection, however, it is more of a weeping child and security blanket type relationship at this stage. Still, he is a solid flex option in all leagues.

 


Jeff Smith
has been a pleasant surprise on the stat sheet and maybe a guy to start in a flex position if both Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman continue to miss time. Tight end Chris Herndon has been a complete non-factor in the offense after being touted as a possible breakout in the preseason. All being said, it is very hard to get excited about this offense right now.

 

-Benjamin Haller 

One response to “What We Saw: Week 4”

  1. Ben says:

    not sure how splitting the work out of the Rams backfield is “very encouraging from a fantasy perspective”

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