Predicting studs and duds for NFL Week 4

By Rachel Wold

Week 4 in the NFL is upon us, and there are some amazing personal and team matchups on the schedule. This should be the week that one of this year’s first-round rookies absolutely explodes against the worst defense in the league. The same cannot be said for other veteran running backs, who won’t be doing much celebrating.

Which quarterbacks are slated to big games this week? Last year’s league MVP quarterback could be on course to lay a big egg in NFL Week 4. Furthermore, one elite AFC North wide receiver might not deliver against a divisional rival team he has struggled with throughout his career history.

On defense, will the Jacksonville Jaguars destroy their opponent team once again? We are predicting a rock star performance from one of the team’s talented defensive backs.

With that stated, let’s get into some more predictions. This is how we see things playing out in NFL Week 4.

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

OBJ put up a two-score performance in his last game. Look for the touchdown celebrations to continue when the Giants travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. The Buccaneers were absolutely terrible stopping wide receivers last weekend, surrendering 282 yards and three touchdowns to the position in Week 3. If Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs can torch the Bucs’ defense for 173 yards and two touchdowns, imagine the damage Beckham might do.

Dud: Ty Montgomery, running back, Green Bay Packers

In Week 4, the Green Bay Packers host a Chicago Bears team that is not lying down to anyone this season. In order for the Packers to gain an upper hand, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have to air it out in this matchup. This likely means another nearly invisible showing for Montgomery, who managed just 2.92 yards per carry and 35 total yards his last game. The Bears’ rushing defense has allowed just 3.4 yards per carry on the season. We don’t see Montgomery making the Lambeau Leap in this game.

Stud: Jalen Ramsey, cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are an absolute thrill to watch on the defensive side of the ball this season. We are going to throw a dart at the team’s roster of defenders and target Ramsey to have another terrific performance. Ramsey and the Jaguars travel to take on the New York Jets Sunday. Quarterback Josh McCown, while achieving his first win with the Jets last weekend, is anything but elite. Ramsey just recorded his first interception on the season against Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Surely, he will get the better of McCown, who has thrown two picks in three games. And best of luck to whichever Jets receiver Ramsey is covering.

Dud: Lamar Miller, running back, Houston Texans

Miller went from being lackluster his first two games to just not great at all in Week 3. He has yet to score on the ground or through the air and we predict another pedestrian performance. In Week 4, the Texans host the Tennessee Titans, a team that has ceded only one rushing touchdown and allowed 3.6 rushing yards on average per game. Miller will be tested, and the presence of rookie running back D’Onta Foreman won’t help. The Texans look to be getting Foreman further involved in the offense, and this timeshare won’t suddenly turn Miller into a stud.

Stud: Frank Gore, running back, Indianapolis Colts 

Things have been looking up for Gore who has scored in his last two games. He might just get lucky again while stockpiling a bunch of rushing yards when the Colts travel to face the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are giving up the farm to opposing running backs, who are averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray, who was playing with a dinged up hamstring, just unleashed 115 yards rushing yards and two total touchdowns on the Seahawks. Gore is primed for a big game if he can take advantage of these friendly conditions.

Dud: Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons

It is not often that we doubt the passing abilities of Ryan. But in Week 4, Ryan and the Falcons host a Buffalo Bills defense that has been cruel to opposing quarterbacks. So far this season, the Bills have not allowed a single passing touchdown and have tallied four interceptions. Ryan should rack up a decent amount of yards, but scoring under these conditions might be brutal. It’s worth noting that in three games, Ryan has only managed to scrape together four passing touchdowns. Fantasy football owners beware.

Stud: Dak Prescott, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys

The Dak Attack is back and he will be primed for a smashing home performance against the Los Angeles Rams. He will face a Rams defense that just made San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer look like Tom Brady in the second half Thursday night last week. Hoyer robbed the Rams for 332 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing score. Prescott stands to do his own damage, both through the air as well as on foot. It would not be shocking if he topped Hoyer’s numbers.

Dud: Ameer Abdullah, running back, Detroit Lions

This NFC North showdown should be a fascinating one: The Lions are going up a Minnesota Vikings defense that is putting up huge walls for opposing running backs. Detroit will be in Minnesota, and we expect the Vikings to neutralize Abdullah. Throughout three games, the Vikings run defense has yet to allow a rushing score and it is giving up only 62.7 yards on average per game. Abdullah has shown signs of a spark and is trying to redeem his career. But unfortunately, we cannot expect him to contribute much in this particular game.

Stud: Melvin Ingram, linebacker, Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Ingram

The poor Chargers aren’t winning anything this season. But it is not due to a lack of effort on Ingram’s part. The outside linebacker ranks second in the NFL in sacks (5.5) through three games. He has also managed a total of 14 combined tackles. We predict another terrific performance for Ingram when the Chargers host the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4. He should make things tough for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz’s offensive line has not done him any favors so far having allowed 11 sacks and 23 quarterback hits. Ingram should eat.

Dud: Marcedes Lewis, tight end, Jacksonville Jaguars

A tight end that some may not have even realized still played for the Jags just came up with a shocking performance in London. An old veteran, Lewis showed up and scored three touchdowns against a stout Baltimore Ravens defense. As such, Lewis will likely be this week’s hottest tight end waiver wire target in fantasy football. But let’s all calm down. The Jags travel to play a Jets defense that has given up only one tight end receiving score in three games. Lewis has not scored three total touchdowns in one year since 2013. Watch Lewis ease back to his usual quiet self in Week 4.

Stud: Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints

It is hard to slow down Brees, who not surprisingly ranks fourth in passing yards and has scored six times. This week, he and the Saints travel to face a distraught Miami Dolphins squad that just let New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown throw all over the place. The Dolphins’ passing defense is allowing a generous 79 percent pass-completion rate. This will be a prime opportunity for Brees to have a huge game through the air. Another reason to think Brees will explode this week is the return of suspended wide receiver, Willie Snead.

Dud: Marshawn Lynch, running back, Oakland Raiders

Beast Mode’s stats have been on the decline since Week 1. He was barely even noticeable when the Raiders got their clock cleaned against Washington last week. Now, another scary road game is on the schedule when the Raiders travel to tango with the Denver Broncos. We still cringe at the thought of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott managing only nine rushing yards against the Broncos in Week 2. There is no way the Raiders are going to risk Lynch’s health and keep involving him if he keeps getting steam-rolled like Zeke did. Lynch will need to shelve his dance moves for another game.

Stud: T.J. Watt, linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers

Watt has a enticing road matchup against last week’s worst-performing quarterback and his floundering offense. Watt might just be primed do some damage against Joe Flacco and the Ravens, who are coming off of a horrific performance. In Week 1 Watt not only registered his first sack, but he also recorded his first interception. He certainly could do the same considering Flacco just threw two picks and endured two sacks. The Ravens’ offense is third-worst in the league and is averaging just 17 points per game. It likely won’t catch a break facing Watt.

Dud: Carlos Hyde, running back, San Francisco 49ers

Week 4 should be the game that Hyde slows down facing the Arizona Cardinals on the road. The Cardinals have given up only two rushing scores to running backs all season. Plus, opposing running backs are averaging only 3.1 yards per carry. The 49ers should find that the Cardinals passing defense is more friendly and a potentially bigger game is on tap for quarterback Brian Hoyer and his receivers. Keep in mind Hyde is nursing a hip injury that could hamper his production this Sunday.

Stud: Jay Ajayi, running back, Miami Dolphins 

Ajayi laid a huge egg when his Dolphins got upset by the New York Jets in Week 3. The Jets kept Ajayi bottled up for a mere 16 rushing yards at a pace of 1.45 yards per carry. Look for Ajayi to rebound with a friendly home matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Their rushing defense is giving up 126.7 yards on average at a pace of 4.6 yards per attempt per game. Plus, it has also allowed 94.7 receiving yards on average per contest to opposing running backs. Expect the J-Train to travel at full speed in Week 4.

Dud: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs 

Hill rebounded in Week 3 when he tallied 77 yards and one touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers. But he stands to once again be kept in check when the Chiefs host the Washington Redskins in Week 4. Washington boasts a defense that just humiliated the Oakland Raiders top two wideouts, holding them to two total catches for 13 yards. This presents a potential frustrating week for Hill, who will likely be shadowed by cornerback Josh Norman. In three games, Washington has given up only one wide receiving touchdown.

Stud: Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions

Stafford and his Lions will be looking to avenge last week’s close loss when they hit the road to face the Minnesota Vikings. Currently, the Vikings passing defense ranks fourth-worst and just allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston to pass for 328 yards and a pair of scores. Since the Vikings have been performing so well on offense, Stafford will have to keep tempo with a heavy aerial attack. He also stands to benefit going up against a defense that has managed only five quarterback sacks.

Dud: A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals v Browns

Green enjoyed a nice bounce-back game and just caught 10 passes for 111 yards and one touchdown against Green Bay. Expecting this much production again from Green might be a stretch. He and the Bengals hit the road to square off against the Cleveland Browns. Green has scored just six touchdowns in his 11-game career-history against Cleveland and has averaged only 75 yards per contest. Keep in mind the Browns have only given up two wide receiving touchdowns this year. Plus, which version of quarterback Andy Dalton will show up this Sunday?

Stud: Christian McCaffrey, running back, Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey during the NFL preseason

McCaffrey just nabbed nine catches for 101 yards last week and stands to increase these numbers in a road game against the New England Patriots. The rookie will meet the league’s worst defense that has allowed an average of 342.7 receiving and 130.3 rushing yards per game. McCaffrey should pile up a ton of yards and hopefully score his first touchdown against a Pats defense that can’t stop anybody. Keep in mind Kansas City Chiefs speedster rookie running back Kareem Hunt racked up 246 total yards and three scores at Gillette Stadium in Week 1. With tight end Greg Olsen and potentially wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin out of the lineup, McCaffrey should be a huge part of Carolina’s offense.

Dud: T.Y Hilton, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts

Fans finally saw one week of solid production out of Hilton when he registered a 153-yard, one-touchdown performance. They hype train is about to slow down a lot for Hilton in Week 4 when the Colts travel to Seattle’s Legion of Boom. The Seahawks defense has given up only two wide receiving touchdowns in three games. Even though Hilton doesn’t find anything scary about cornerback Richard Sherman (more on that here), he and quarterback Jacoby Brissett might be up for a tough ride, causing Hilton’s numbers to tank back to sub par.