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Week 4: Fantasy Football takeaways

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Unemployment offices across the U.S. will have more work this week, as a number of NFL kickers got the boot after some shocking performances. Week 4 saw 14 missed field goals and four missed extra points, many of which decided the outcome of close fantasy matchups. It was an otherwise quiet week, as top receivers put together some under-the-radar performances. Here’s the rest of your fantasy football roundup:

A Bronco that lost its legs

Undrafted free agent C.J. Anderson emerged as an elite running back for the Denver Broncos last season and was hyped up as a smart fantasy pick in the off-season. Through four weeks, however, the former California Golden Bear has rushed for a paltry 117 yards with no touchdowns. The disappointing production has cleared the way for Ronnie Hillman. The fourth-year player has been the Broncos best back and is poised to get the starting gig. With Anderson quickly slipping into fantasy irrelevance, selling low while you can might be your best option.

Dolphins poached across the pond

Fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill was blitzed all game behind a shaky offensive line in the Miami Dolphins’ loss to the New York Jets at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Tannehill has been a serviceable fantasy quarterback to this point but his value will fluctuate week to week so long as Miami’s line continues to struggle. Fortunately for the team’s skill-position players, Head Coach Joe Philbin, who has overseen the Fins almost completely abandon the run game, was fired Monday morning. Heading into their Week 5 bye, Tannehill and his teammates will look to work out their kinks. Expect increased production and a few more fantasy points from the Miami backfield in Week 6.

The Duke of Cleveland

Cleveland Browns’ rookie running back Duke Johnson Jr. was a fantasy sleeper coming into the season. He finally woke upin Week 4. The Browns coaching staff followed through on their promise to increase Johnson’s touches and the versatile back went off for nine catches, 85 yards, and a touchdown. While Johnson’s rushing stats over the past four weeks are nothing to write home about, his receiving abilities separate him from fellow halfback Isaiah Crowell. Johnson even got the nod over Crowell on a late goal line attempt on Sunday. With the Browns expecting to trail in many games going forward, Duke Johnson Jr. should prove to be an asset in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues with plenty of growing upside as his usage rises.

A Jet doomed for descent

After three seasons in Chicago, wide receiver Brandon Marshall fled for the Big Apple and joined the Jets receiving corps. Lingering ankle issues and a punctured lung brought an early end to Marshall’s roller coaster 2014 season. With a competent quarterback this year in Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 31-year-old Marshall has silenced whispers that his best days are behind him and has dominated with three touchdowns and an average 100 receiving yards per game. Marshall was a huge steal for those who drafted the wideout in the middle rounds as their second or third receiver; however, it’s fair to question whether Marshall can maintain this level of play. Fitzpatrick has a history of regressing, demonstrated in his short tenures at his previous five NFL teams, and Marshall has always been injury-prone. It may be worthwhile to field some trade offers for the wide receiver while his value is sky-high.

Gurley ramming through the defence

Returning from a 2014 ACL surgery, St Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley carried the load in Sunday’s 24-22 upset of the Arizona Cardinals. The rookie rushed 21 times, amassing 161 all-purpose yards despite a poor performance from his offensive line. Aside from showing off his legs and vision all afternoon, Gurley demonstrated some acute football IQ on the final drive, when he stayed in bounds and kept the clock running and gave himself up when defenders approached. Look for Gurley to be used early and often in next week’s meeting with the undefeated Green Bay Packers and their vulnerable run defence.

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