Season Preview: Denver Nuggets
Quietly, the Denver Nuggets have turned into an offensive juggernaut led by a budding superstar in center Nikola Jokic.
Some pretty good defenses have been buried under an onslaught of surprising offensive performances so far this season. Week 4 was no exception, with nine individual players topped 30 NFL Fantasy points, with a few others right behind them.
Who were the most prolific players in a week full of NFL Fantasy shootouts? And which players left their NFL Fantasy owners shaking their heads in disappointment? Well… these guys!
Anyone who guessed Chicago’s second-year quarterback would offer the fourth 40-point performance of the season should be handed their league championship now. Even the handful of NFL Fantasy owners who started Trubisky had to be hoping for a shootout that might push him over the 20-point range.
Instead, the Chicago Bears passer hit five different receivers for touchdowns in the first half. He added a sixth later in the day and ended up with 354 passing yards and no interceptions. In case that wasn’t enough, he added 53 rushing yards, too.
Those of us wondering if this is the new offense of the Bears or not have an extra week to consider things. The Bears are on their bye in Week 5.
Trubisky’s performance almost made us forget Jared Goff’s 5-touchdown, 465-yard game on Thursday Night Football. Everything Goff did worked out against a reeling Minnesota Vikings defense, a unit that came off the board as a top 3 D/ST in preseason NFL Fantasy drafts.
Which brings us to the point that has to be made: Jared Goff might be ready to leave the realm of streaming quarterbacks and enter must-start territory. He has shown no inclination of repeating last season’s ebb-and-flow based on opposing defenses.
Since stinking up the joint with his first-half effort in Week 1, Goff has scored 18, 25, and now 39 standard NFL Fantasy points against Arizona, the Chargers, and Minnesota.
After a week of listening to everyone question his arm strength, Andrew Luck tossed 61 passes Sunday and still had enough left to heave a Hail Mary into the end zone in overtime.
That didn’t work out, but Luck still had a flash-back kind of day with 464 yards and 4 touchdowns while the defense harassed him all day. He was sacked 4 times.
Luck did a lot of his damage without TY Hilton on the field. Hilton left for a while with a chest injury. When he came back, he injured a hamstring. Jack Doyle also missed the game, so all of Luck’s targets were not on the Colts’ starting roster before his last full season.
We’ll see how Luck's arm holds up in a short week against the Patriots.
Kirk Cousins (31.68) did his best to keep up with Jared Goff Thursday, but despite 400 yards and 3 touchdown passes, he and the Vikings fell short.
Derek Carr (31.58) was another quarterback under siege. A good offensive game plan against an aggressive Browns defense helped Carr throw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. He tacked on a 2-point conversion, but three turnovers dropped him into the QB-5 position.
Deshaun Watson (31.10) reminded everyone of the Watson of 2017, throwing for 375 yards and running for 41 more. He accounted for 3 touchdowns on the day.
Marcus Mariota overcame continued numbness in some fingers to lead the Titans’ upset of the Eagles. Mariota threw for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added on a rushing touchdown, too.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (29.26) was the fifth quarterback to throw for over 400 yards Sunday. His 3 touchdowns left him just short of joining the 30-point club.
Alvin Kamara, and the entire New Orleans offense was bottled up in the first half Sunday. But that was okay because he only needed the other 30 minutes to run for 3 touchdowns and run up 181 total yards.
He was about the only offensive player on either side doing anything. The Giants’ defense could not stop him once Kamara got rolling.
Speaking of one-man offenses, Ezekiel Elliot was the leading receiver and leading rusher for the Dallas Cowboys in their last-second victory over the Lions.
One week after his fumble stopped a comeback attempt against Seattle, Elliott played a flawless game in front of the home crowd. His 152 rushing yards and 240 total yards led the league.
Mike Davis (24.40) wasn’t in many NFL Fantasy starting rosters, but he got the nod from Pete Carroll when Chris Carson was a late scratch. Davis’ 2 touchdowns and 124 total yards gave him the third-best NFL Fantasy output among running backs.
Melvin Gordon (23.90) had a Melvin Gordon type of day, with 104 rushing yards, 55 passing yards and a touchdown for the Chargers. He tacked on a 2-point conversion to push him into the RB-4 slot.
Chicago’s Tarik Cohen (23.40) finally took the Tyreek Hill role many prognosticators (okay- maybe it was only me) predicted when Matt Nagy was named head coach. Cohen racked up 174 total yards and was one of six Bears who scored a touchdown.
Sonny Michel had his first 100-yard rushing game for the Patriots Sunday, but it was James White (23.20) who scored twice and led the team with 114 total yards.
Cleveland’s rookie Nick Chubb (22.50) made the most of his three touches, scoring on two long touchdown runs and topping 100 yards.
Giovani Bernard (21.60), Todd Gurley (21.6), and TJ Yeldon (20.00) each put in a full game's work to round out the ten 20-point scorers among the running back ranks.
Three Rams wide receivers topped 100 yards and scored a touchdown in Thursday Night Football’s show against the Vikings. Cooper Kupp was the best of them, with 162 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Kupp and the Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks without safety Earl Thomas, the last link to the Legion of Boom. We’re guessing the surprising number of NFL Fantasy owners who left Kupp on their bench last week will reconsider his place on the roster come Sunday.
Golden Tate was listed as questionable to play Sunday, which caused more than a few wary NFL Fantasy owners to miss out on his 2-touchdown, 132-yard performance against the Cowboys. Detroit’s shaky defense should keep most Detroit wide receivers in starting lineups for a while.
Meanwhile, Taylor Gabriel was the only Bear to score twice in their 48-10 dismantling of the magic-less Buccaneers. Both scores were from 3 yards out, but 108 other yards gives Gabriel the WR-3 finish and the last 20-point performance among wide receivers.
Julio Jones led all receivers with 173 yards Sunday, but it’s hard to crack the leaderboard when they don’t let you score touchdowns. He landed at the WR-11 spot, just behind rookie teammate Calvin Ridley and his 54 receiving yards (with 2 touchdowns).
Jared Cook (23.00) joined Alvin Kamara as the only players to lead their position group in NFL Fantasy points in more than one week. His 2 touchdowns and 110 yards against the Browns did the trick.
George Kittle (18.50) hooked up with former college teammate CJ Beathard on an 82-yard touchdown and ended the day with 125 receiving yards, the most of any tight end.
Before you go thinking Trey Burton (14.60) is finally the big part of Chicago’s offense we expected, he caught only 2 of 4 targets on the day. They happened to go for 39 and 47 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Ertz (11.20) had 112 receiving yards, but without a touchdown, it left him in the TE-4 position.
One week after Buffalo took the Minnesota Vikings’ defense by surprise, the Packers completely shut down the visitors from Upstate New York. Besides throwing a shutout, Green Bay tacked on 7 sacks and 3 turnovers.
Chicago (14), Houston (13), Oakland (12) and New England (10) were the only other defenses to hit double digits in Week 4.
About the only NFL Fantasy fans who weren’t happy about the Bears offensive explosion were Jordan Howard’s owners. He was the forgotten man in Nagy’s speed-game offense, accumulating a paltry 2.5 NFL Fantasy points.
But that was more than Dalvin Cook (2.0) and Kenyan Drake (1.6). Fans who adjusted their lineups at the last minute based on injury updates and inactives were probably less than satisfied with Rashaad Penny’s 4.9 points or Leonard Fournette’s 3.6.
There were 33 wide receivers who scored more than 10 NFL Fantasy points this week. That didn’t make Michael Thomas (4.7), Michael Crabtree (2.9), Larry Fitzgerald (2.8), Nelson Agholor (2.2) or Keelan Cole’s (1.8) owners any happier.
Much like watching Mitchell Trubisky top all scorers didn’t lift the spirits of those with Aaron Rodgers (15.02), sleeper-favorite Eli Manning (14.70), Russell Wilson (8.98) or Drew Brees (8.58) any.
But at least their quarterback didn’t get pulled from the game at halftime with only 3.04 points like Ryan Fitzpatrick. And maybe you weren’t among those testing the sleeper worthiness of Ryan Tannehill, just to see him end the day with “0”- as in zero, NFL Fantasy points against the Patriots.
There’s always next week for those under-performers. Except Jordan Howard. He has to wallow in misery through the bye week before he gets a chance to make amends.