Predicting studs and duds for NFL Week 4

By Rachel Wold
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There was some incredible stuff going on around the NFL last weekend that will have an impact on the rest of the season for players, and their teams.

First of all, two more rookie quarterbacks have earned the right to start this week. Browns and Cardinals fans were beyond thrilled to see both Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen’s numbers get called. How will their presence impact the rest of their teammates this week?

Speaking of impact, the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots will be looking to turn things around after suffering embarrassing home losses. But, we are not so sure a couple of popular star players from each of those teams will do so well against their upcoming opponents.

With that said, these are our stud and dud predictions for NFL Week 4.

Stud: Jarvis Landry, wide receiver, Cleveland Browns

Once rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield stepped in and took center stage last Thursday, Landry lit up like a spotlight. He finished his evening catching 8-of-15 targets for 103 yards. In Week 4, we can expect more of the same from him as he faces a hapless Oakland Raiders squad. Landry has a great chance of scoring his first touchdown of the year considering the Raiders have given up two passing scores on average per game thus far. Pencil in Mayfield as a stud too against a defense that has allowed a 105.2 quarterback rating as a result of an anemic pass rush.

Dud: Dak Prescott, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys

Prescott has yet to top 170 passing yards in any of his first three games. He also has only two touchdowns on the books compared to the two picks he threw in his last game. There is little reason to believe he turns his act around when the Cowboys host the Detroit Lions. This is a Lions defense that made New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady look like an amateur in Week 3, holding him to a mere 133 passing yards. He was also picked off once and threw just one touchdown. Prescott is no Brady, and the Lions know it.

Stud: Albert Wilson, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

Wilson put on quite the electric show in his last game, turning two catches into 74 yards and one touchdown. He also pulled a trick play and threw for a 52-yard passing score. In Week 4, Wilson’s magic acts stand to continue when the Dolphins look to improve to 4-0 against New England. The Patriots’ defense has been full of gaping holes, allowing 406.3 yards on average per contest. It’s also given up 25.7 average points per tilt. Surely, Wilson can find ways to take advantage.

Dud: Blake Bortles, quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles has taken Jaguars fans on a roller coaster ride thus far in the season. When he is not passing for 376 yards and four touchdowns, he is throwing for only 155 yards and zero scores the following game. This week, Bortles might on the down side again when the New York Jets come to town. While offering a mixed bag on offense, the Jets can be tough defensively, having given up only three passing touchdowns, compared to snagging five interceptions in three games. Bortles might play into these stats perfectly.

Stud: Wesley Woodyard, linebacker, Tennessee Titans

Woodyard had himself a game in Week 3 after recording 12 total tackles and one sack. In Week 4, he will look to continue making life tough when the Titans host the Philadelphia Eagles. Good luck in advance to any Eagles running backs when it comes to scoring. Woodyard and the Titans defense have yet to allow a rushing touchdown. Plus, a sack or possibly more might be in store for Woodyard. He’ll be hunting Carson Wentz, who was sacked five times in his 2018 NFL debut.

Dud: Jordan Howard, running back, Chicago Bears

Howard and the Bears will look to continue their win streak in Week 4 in a home matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And while the Bucs are giving up the most passing yards so far in the league, their defense is stingy when it comes to the run. Howard might struggle considering opposing running backs are averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt and 70.7 ground yards per game. It might be Howard’s fellow back, Tarik Cohen who benefits more in this particular matchup.

Stud: Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, New York Giants

Beckham’s upcoming matchup should make him look like a complete stud. He and the Giants host the New Orleans Saints, whose defense looks like it’s operated by toddlers. It is ceding a generous 337 passing yards on average per game and 10 passing scores on the season. Quarterback Eli Manning should be able to hit up OBJ plenty in wide open space. While he too should thrive against a defense allowing a 74.2 percent completion rate. If all goes according to plan, Beckham is going to feast.

Dud: Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

Poor Fitzgerald is the byproduct of a horrible Cardinals offense that is becoming the laughingstock of the league. While the Cardinals named rookie Josh Rosen the starter for Week 4, don’t expect Fitzgerald to suddenly look like his old self. The Cardinals welcome the Seattle Seahawks, whose defense just held the aforementioned Dak Prescott to 168 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions last Sunday. Rosen is going to be challenged while Seattle focuses on eliminating his best wide receiver as a passing option.

Stud: Royce Freeman, running back, Denver Broncos

This might be Rolls Royce’s week to finally shine in a friendly matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. With hot-hand rookie Phillip Lindsay perhaps in the Broncos dog house after he was ejected in his last game, the Broncos may promote Freeman. If so, he will be facing a Chiefs defense that has been giving up 5.2 yards per rushing attempt thus far on the season. Plus, the Chiefs have kindly surrendered the most overall yards per game. Given this, quarterback Case Keenum should keep pace, leaving the Broncos plenty of opportunity to run the ball.

Dud: Amari Cooper, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders

Cooper is doing just what he did last year, frustrating the heck out of his fantasy football owners while putting together up-and-down performances. In Week 4, Cooper looks to disappoint once again, facing the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland’s defense is not one to exploit and it has given up only three wide receiving touchdowns this season. And, opposing quarterbacks are averaging a lowly 72.4 quarterback rating as well. Therefore, we really cannot promote the Derek Carr to Cooper connection much this week.

Stud: Darius Slay, cornerback, Detroit Lions

Slay has a great chance of living up to his last name playing Dallas this week. The Cowboys absolutely stink when it comes to their passing game, which is the second-worst in the league. So, we fully expect Slay to have a field day as he attempts to add another interception to his stats. Considering Slay picked off good old Tom Brady in his last game, he should have no problem throwing monkey wrenches into the Cowboys’ best efforts to move the ball downfield.

Dud: Brandin Cooks, wide receiver, Los Angeles Rams

Cooks and the Rams were on fire in their last game. But, don’t expect the same when the Minnesota Vikings head to Los Angeles. This is a defense that will be looking to avenge getting upset by the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. They will surely be aiming to shut down the Rams’ best and fastest receiver, which is Cooks. This is exactly what the Vikings defense did to Bills top wideout Kelvin Benjamin last game. If the Vikings don’t find a way to slow Cooks down, they will have a real problem.

Stud: Chris Carson, running back, Seattle Seahawks

While head coach Pete Carroll ate crow for his running back debacle in Week 2, he must realize after Carson’s powerful Week 3 performance that he is a bell-cow back. ThisĀ  upcoming game, Carson has another fabulous opportunity to shine playing the Cardinals. Arizona’s rushing defense is gifting the most fantasy football points to opposing running backs in the league. To date, the Cardinals have allowed 131.3 rushing yards on average per game and six total running back touchdowns. Carson is primed to go wild if Carroll doesn’t mess things up.

Dud: Stefon Diggs, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

Diggs and the Rams have a tough matchup ahead against the Rams as they attempt to get over their upset loss to the Bills. Though, Diggs might take a backseat again in performance compared to fellow receiver Adam Thielen. Overall, Thielen has been more productive and he just drew 19 targets compared to the 10 Diggs received in his last game. With the Rams’ secondary all dinged up, Thielen, who has also been much more reliable, should dominate.

Stud: Tyler Boyd, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

Boyd has been gaining momentum and has racked up 12 catches for 223 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. He has an excellent chance to keep piling up numbers when the Bengals play the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4. The Falcons have been simply dreadful on defense and last allowed New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas to haul in 10 catches for 129 yards. With A.J. Green banged up and potentially missing this Week 4 tilt, Boyd is primed for a fantastic game.

Dud: Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots

Right now, the Miami Dolphins are hot and the Patriots are not as the two teams prepare to meet this Sunday. As it stands, Tom Brady has nobody reliable to throw to other than Gronk. With that being said, the Dolphins are going to do their best to shut him down. They have yet to allow a tight end touchdown, which means the Patriots are going to be hard-pressed to find the end zone. Through three games, the Dolphins have only allowed two passing touchdowns while recording seven picks. Gronk and Brady are up for a bumpy ride.

Stud: Jerry Hughes, defensive end, Buffalo Bills

Hughes was a big pain in the side of the Minnesota Vikings in his last game, posting a sack as well as a forced fumble. He will look to strike heavy again in Week 4 against Green Bay. The defensive end leads the Bills with two sacks, and next up is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is playing a little gimpy. Rodgers has also endured a whopping 10 sacks in just three games. That number looks to easily be on the rise with Hughes applying pressure. We also would not be surprised if another Bills upset is in the works.

Dud: George Kittle, tight end, San Francisco 49ers

Kittle’s dreams of evolving into a stud tight end in the NFL may have temporarily been fanned out with the season-ending injury of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. At least we predict things will cool off for Kittle’s Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have given up only 87 total yards to the tight end position in their three games played. This came along with zero tight end touchdowns. With a fog hanging over the 49ers’ quarterback position, it is hard to envision Kittle making a big impact this week.

Stud: John Brown, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens

“Smoke” Brown has an excellent chance of burning up some big yardage in his Week 4 divisional matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is because the Steelers just gave up an astounding 411 passing yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3. Expect quarterback Joe Flacco to fully take advantage and for Brown to keep seeing an uptick in his targets and yards. In the last two weeks, Brown has garnered 19 targets resulting in 178 yards and one touchdown. He is also averaging a stout 18.3 yards per catch.

Dud: Will Fuller, wide receiver, Houston Texans

Fuller has looked quite spectacular after racking up 214 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. But, his numbers could take a tumble on the road when he faces the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts defense has yielded only two wide receiving touchdowns while giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to the position over three games. That comes along with the Colts allowing only 91.3 wide receiving yards on average per game. If Fuller can create an upset to this stat, then more power to him.