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Fantasy Football Week 4 Quarterback Rankings: Where did all the good QBs go?

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Fantasy Football analysts will tell you every season that you can wait on quarterback and still get pretty good production from the position, and if you look at the rankings after Week 3, it looks like that’s the case yet again. Late-round or undrafted quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Trevor Lawrence rank among the top 12 at the position through Week 3, with the likes of Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and even Joe Flacco ranking in the top 16 so far. Late-round QB doesn’t look so bad right now.

But I think that’s the exact opposite conclusion to draw right now. I think the early-round QB strategy looks better than ever right now. Tagovailoa has one massive game and two others with fewer than 17 points in six-point-per-pass TD scoring; Wentz has mostly been a compiler, and he fell flat on his face in Week 3 against a good defense; similarly, Goff has just one game with more than 20 points so far. Of those four surprises in the top 12, only Trevor Lawrence, entering his second season and with a massively upgraded receiving corps, looks like he might be legit.

Meanwhile, Dak Prescott is hurt, with a murky timetable, Joe Burrow can’t stay off his back, Matthew Stafford has looked rusty after being limited in camp with an elbow issue, and Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have been a disaster, so the middle-class of quarterbacks hasn’t really gotten the job done either. Trey Lance is done for the season and Justin Fields is running an offense straight out of a Knute Rockne playbook, so even our hoped-for breakout candidates have flopped.

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Some of those players have better days ahead of them, but in looking at my QB rankings for Week 4, I think there is a tier or two emerging from the pack right now. It’s Josh Allen at the top, with Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts in Tier 2, and then there’s everyone else — at least until Justin Herbert proves this rib injury is behind him, Kyler Murray gets DeAndre Hopkins back, and Brady’s weapons get healthy. 

Here are my full QB rankings for Week 4. 

  1. Josh Allen @BAL
  2. Lamar Jackson vs. BUF — There are shades of 2019 in how Jackson is playing to open this season, and we’ve seen him sustain elite efficiency for a full season before, so I’m not so quick to write off his strong start. He won’t sustain 8.5 yards per attempt or an 11.4% touchdown rate, but he could absolutely be among the league leaders in both regards. This is a tough matchup, but there’s obviously no way you consider sitting him. 
  3. Jalen Hurts vs. JAX — The Eagles have led pretty much the whole way in every game so far, and Hurts has thrown 30-plus passes in each one. This is exactly what we wanted to see from Hurts with his upgraded weapons, and he sure looks like an absolutely elite Fantasy QB right now. 
  4. Patrick Mahomes @TB — Mahomes didn’t have a great game in Week 3, but it’s worth noting that Travis Kelce dropped what should have been a touchdown late, which would have made his line look fine. The Buccaneers are a tough matchup, and Mahomes won’t have Tyreek Hill around to catch multiple long touchdowns like he did the last time these two teams went head to head, but you’re still starting him. 
  5. Kyler Murray @CAR — I don’t want to oversimplify things, but it’s hard not to conclude that Murray misses some of the weapons he lost this offseason. The good news — in the medium-term, at least — is that DeAndre Hopkins will be back after three more games, but Murray has taken a step back as a passer and isn’t making up for it with rushing production yet. In fact, he’s averaging a career-low 4.0 rush attempts per game. It’s going to be tough to be an elite Fantasy QB if that doesn’t change.
  6. Joe Burrow vs. MIA — Burrow was able to get going in Week 3, and that was without being able to get Ja’Marr Chase going down the field. The Bengals are figuring out how to adjust to defenses taking the deep ball away, and it was good to see them show signs of having some answers in Week 3. I still don’t view him as an elite Fantasy option, but Burrow remains a fine starter, something that is surprisingly hard to come by these days.
  7. Tom Brady vs. KC — Things will unquestionably get better for Brady at some point, and the return of Mike Evans and (hopefully!) Julio Jones should help things along this week. It’s hard to trust him right now, but I’m nowhere close to giving up on Brady if he has his weapons. This might be a good time to try to buy-low on him. 
  8. Justin Herbert @HOU — Correlation isn’t causation, but it’s hard not to view Herbert’s struggles in Week 3 against the Jaguars in light of his fractured ribs. In theory, things should be easier the further removed he gets from the injury, but you have to acknowledge there is at least some risk here of Herbert struggling while recovering. Not enough to say you should bench him, but enough to write this out, at least.
  9. Matthew Stafford @SF
  10. Kirk Cousins @NO — We expected more from Cousins against the Lions, and now he has a very tough matchup on the way against the Saints. The good news is, he’s averaging nearly 40 pass attempts per game, so volume has helped cover up some ineffectiveness early on, but it’s still fair to say he’s been a disappointment through three games. He’s still a viable starter, but not the slam dunk we thought he might be.
  11. Derek Carr vs. DEN — Carr has been fine so far, but it has admittedly been a bit of a disappointing start to the season. He has his worst yards per attempt since 2017, and while his 5% touchdown rate is fine, it’s a little disappointing, given the presence of someone like Davante Adams to target in the red zone. This looked like a potential shootout in the preseason, but the Broncos just haven’t scored enough to make me think it’ll be that this week. Carr is fine.
  12. Trevor Lawrence @PHI — It’ll be tough to trust Lawrence against a tough Eagles defense, but he’s been pretty great against what we thought were tough matchups in the early going. The Jaguars are doing a good job of keeping Lawrence clean, and he’s making the most of a rebuilt — and apparently pretty underrated — group of pass catchers. If he has multiple touchdowns and throws for 250-plus yards against this Eagles defense, we might just have to view him as a top-12 option moving forward. 
  13. Carson Wentz @DAL — “Disappointment tends to follow when you start to get expectations with Carson Wentz.” That’s how I opened my write up on Wentz in this space last week, and … well, yeah. He’s had some good moments this season, but he was hopeless in the face of the Eagles pass rush, and the Cowboys have a similarly ferocious front, so things could get ugly here again. Wentz is still in a pass-heavy offense with good weapons, so I can’t outright say you shouldn’t use him, but this is definitely a buyer beware situation. You know what you’re getting into at this point.
  14. Aaron Rodgers vs. NE — Rodgers has bounced back from a miserable Week 1, as expected, but we still haven’t seen a truly massive game from him. This is a tough matchup, and the Packers game plan seems likely to continue to revolve around the running backs, especially if New England’s offense struggles to put up points, as seems likely. Rodgers remains a pretty fringe starter.
  15. Russell Wilson @LV — It’s been so weird to watch Wilson, long one of the most efficient quarterbacks in NFL history, putting up 7.0 yards per pass attempt and a 1.9% touchdown rate through three games. It’s been an awkward start to his Broncos career, and Nathaniel Hackett is not inspiring confidence in his ability to lead a team. I’m still willing to buy Wilson, but this has not been a strong start. 
  16. Tua Tagovailoa @CIN — Tagovailoa is dealing with a back injury on a short week, and he didn’t practice Monday, but he’s going to play Thursday night. He’s a good, but not great starting option, in my eyes. 
  17. Marcus Mariota vs. CLE
  18. Jared Goff vs. SEA — Goff got some hype as a streamer last week and he did what he typically does — disappoint. He’s fine, because the Lions offense is actually pretty good, though they’ll certainly miss D’Andre Swift’s playmaking skills if he is out. Goff is a No. 2 QB with room to disappoint if you expect much more than that.
  19. Zach Wilson @PIT — We’ve seen Trevor Lawrence take a nice leap forward in the early going, so here’s hoping Wilson can do the same with what looks to be an upgraded set of weapons around him. Wilson was pretty bad last season, so you don’t want to start him, but keep an eye on how he looks against what should still be a pretty tough matchup, because it’s not out of the question he could emerge as a viable starter at some point.
  20. Daniel Jones vs. CHI
  21. Cooper Rush vs. WAS
  22. Mitchell Trubisky vs. NYJ
  23. Jacoby Brissett @ATL
  24. Jameis Winston vs. MIN — Winston is fighting through back and ankle injuries that make it tough to trust him even if he does play. 
  25. Justin Fields @NYG — Even Lamar Jackson wouldn’t be a starting-caliber Fantasy QB with fewer than 20 pass plays per game — Fields is at 15 per through three games. The rushing production is good, but Fields isn’t worth using for Fantasy until the Bears start to trust him more as a passer.
  26. Jimmy Garoppolo vs. LAR
  27. Baker Mayfield vs. ARI
  28. Matt Ryan vs. TEN — Ryan has been pretty awful so far, with four interceptions and seven fumbles to just three touchdowns. I’m not sure he’s washed up, but I don’t see much reason to be interested in him for Fantasy.
  29. Ryan Tannehill @IND
  30. Geno Smith @DET
  31. Davis Mills vs. LAC
  32. Brian Hoyer @GB



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NFL odds Week 13: Best bets for Commanders-Giants, Jets-Vikings

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Gambling Analyst Sammy P is back with his best NFL bets and the wagers to make for college football conference championship weekend.



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‘Bonfire Brady’ Tkachuk imposes will on opponents to spark Senators resurgence

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If this was the night the Ottawa Senators season turned around, what a night it was. 

The night Brady Tkachuk put the team on his back and carried his teammates to an overtime victory in Madison Square Garden. 

Bonfire Brady’s Tour de Force. 

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There were just enough fumes left from Tkachuk’s Big Night on Broadway for him to score Ottawa’s first of five goals Saturday night in a goofy but entertaining 5-2 romp over the San Jose Sharks

Talk about a back-to-back momentum shift. After so many early season hiccups and setbacks, the Senators have suddenly won four of their past five and are no longer alone in last place in the Atlantic Division. They are tied with the Buffalo Sabres, and within shouting distance of the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.

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Giroux ignites crowd

Saturday’s win over San Jose, featuring three Sens power-play goals against a stingy penalty kill unit, was important for a couple of reasons. It kept the Manhattan mojo going and energized one of the largest gates of the season at the Canadian Tire Centre – 17,101. Given that this was the only Saturday home date of December, the upper suites were brimming with company Christmas party revelers, busting for a good time. 

The Sens gave it to them. Nothing was more entertaining than a wild sequence in the third period, which started with a 4-on-3 kill by the home team, the score 4-2 Ottawa at the time. Defenceman Travis Hamonic broke his stick, making it 4-on-2.5. Somehow, the Sens survived, with goaltender Anton Forsberg stopping a flurry of shots. As the penalty to Thomas Chabot expired, the puck squirted free to Claude Giroux, who had a two-on-none break. 

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And so Giroux – takes a slapshot???

And scores, of course. His second of the game and 11th of the season for the cagy veteran. 

The CTC exploded with noise as their hometown hero delivered with such panache. 

“Between periods, I told Pinto I was going to score on a slapshot, so I didn’t really have a choice,” Giroux said later, typically deadpan. He added that it’s the loudest he has heard the building since he joined the Sens in the off-season. 

“That’s why you play the game,” Giroux added, acknowledging the crowd.

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Tkachuk called the slapshot goal “vintage ‘G’” and “almost the loudest moment that I’ve heard in this rink when that happened. So, it’s definitely exciting.”

Tkachuk game for the ages

As fun as Saturday’s victory was for the home fans, those watching on TV the night before saw a signature performance by a young Ottawa captain who would make a fine comic book superhero. 

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“Bonfire Brady” had one for the franchise annals. Playing in his 300th game, Tkachuk scored his 100th career goal to send a frenetic, playoff-style game against the host New York Rangers into overtime. After surviving a breakaway by former Senator Mika Zibanejad, the Senators counted on Captain Brady for the OT winner, racing clear to tuck a five-hole backhand shot past Igor Shesterkin, who had been brilliant for the Rangers. Career goal No. 101 for Tkachuk, and his 11th of the season in this breakout offensive year. 

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Tkachuk leads the Sens in goals (12), assists (17) and points (29) and is on pace for 99 points.

Wasn’t it enough that Tkachuk led with his heart and his fists? Now he’s the offensive catalyst, too. 

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“I think all you guys know, you saw it, he steps up in big games,” said linemate Tim Stützle, grinning. “That’s what he did (Friday). The whole team played well, everybody followed him . . . and that move in OT, I didn’t know he had that in his bag, there.”

Tkachuk’s game-tying goal, scored on a tip of a Chabot shot, marked the first time the Senators have made a third-period comeback this season, and was their first goal scored with their goalie pulled for an extra skater. That tip is a play Tkachuk works on every day in practice.

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Incredibly, Tkachuk has already scored five career overtime winners with the Senators, placing him tied for fourth on the all-time team list. 

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Weirdly, ‘Bonfire Brady’ scored three points (2+1) in his 300th game, just as his father, Walt Tkachuk, did in his 300th game. Of course, Brady is carved from the same granite rock from which ‘Walt’ was created. 

As much as I hate the expression, there was a so-called “Gordie Howe” hat trick on this night. Tkachuk did have a fight, goal (2) and assist in this thriller at MSG. (Howe’s son, Marty, once said the Gordie hat trick should have more accurately described a goal, assist and cross-check to the face. No one wanted to fight Howe). They soon won’t want to fight Tkachuk, who is built like an oak tree, much like Howe. 

At centre ice, Tkachuk fought Rangers captain Jacob Trouba, who was trying to get his team going – coasting a bit against a Sens team that had handled 3-1 in Ottawa last Wednesday.

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No big deal, Tkachuk shrugged. 

“Usually I don’t really think about it,” Tkachuk said about the timing of his fights. “Whenever it happens it happens. 

What a guy, this No. 7. 

In their 30-year history, the Senators have never had a player who brings such a complete package – an elite power forward who can impose his will on a game. A young man who stirs the bench like stirring a drink, still coming into his prime. An animated Tkachuk was jumping up and down on the bench as little Alex DeBrincat was mixing it up in a mini-line scrap near the players’ benches late in the game. 

“I was fired up, for sure,” Tkachuk said. “It’s one of the best parts of the game – when guys are protecting each other . . . whatever it takes to win.”

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Daniel Alfredsson, the longest-serving Senators captain at 13 seasons, was a Hall of Fame captain, a clutch performer with a lot of heart. But he certainly was not an imposing physical figure like the 6-4, 220-pound Tkachuck. Alfie was approaching 27 when he was named captain, already a mature leader. Jason Spezza, an artist and student of the game, had a tough task following Alfie’s footsteps. Erik Karlsson led with his skill. Ditto for Alexei Yashin, who preceded Alfredsson. The early captains, from Laurie Boschman to Randy Cunneyworth, were veteran placeholders until the first group of young stars could emerge, Alfredsson, Marian Hossa etc. 

(A neat aside: Karlsson told reporters prior to Saturday’s game that he spent Friday evening with Alfredsson watching the Sens game. Two former captains watching the new guy on the job flourish). Tkachuk opened Saturday’s game by pounding Karlsson into the boards, heavily. 

Behold this 23-year-old captain, out of the second great youth wave in Ottawa, the rebuild of 2018-22. Tkachuk was the youngest of the ten captains in franchise history when he was given the ‘C’ last November at age 22. 

He was the obvious choice, even if not everyone saw him as the obvious draft choice of 2018. 

When Ottawa drafted him fourth overall, there were comments made about his eight-goal total in his final season at Boston University. Did he score enough to merit a top-five selection at the NHL draft? Never mind that he also had 23 assists for a very respectable 31 points in 40 games.  

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Senators scouts and GM Pierre Dorion saw enough then of what we see today, a kid who simply refuses to back down from any situation. A true winner. With upside as an offensive player, already demonstrated by his brother, Matthew, in Calgary and Florida. 

Now that offensive side of Brady is emerging on a nightly basis. He doesn’t take as many low-percentage shots as he did those first few years, when he was often trying to jam pucks home from the side of the crease. His shot is crisper and sneaky heavy. On breakaways, especially in overtime, it’s usually a done deal. 

Senators head coach D.J. Smith is endlessly praising Tkachuk for his ability to “drag his team into battle.” As a former tough guy defenceman, who loves old school hockey, Smith couldn’t have a more perfect prototype as captain. 

And it was Tkachuk who was most outspoken when fans called for Smith’s firing, over a fourth straight slow start to the season. Despite the team’s record, Tkachuk railed against the “negativity” surrounding Smith’s status. That talk has quieted, to be sure. 

It may take some time for Ottawa’s roster to flesh out into a true contender. 

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When it does, the Sens will have a captain absolutely built to lead them in the playoffs. Their impish comic book superhero who pounds opponents into submission and comes up smiling.

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Find out which four teams the Selection Committee picks for the CFP, and tune in as RJ Young reacts live to the results.



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