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Sunday Scaries: Week 4

Week 3 Update:

Rashod Bateman vs. DeVonta Smith +1.5. Smith didn't need the juice and finished as the WR1 overall for Week 3. Clutch.

Drake London vs. Kyle Pitts +1. I barely edged this one out. Drake London is still the Falcons' alpha.

Garrett Wilson +2.5 Vs. Tee Higgins. Both left the game due to nasty hits to the head/neck area. I'll still take the W. A rivalry with @58WKingPodcast has commenced.

Running Season Record: 7-2

Week 4 Matchups:

Brandon Aiyuk vs. Allen Robinson +1.5

What is wrong with Allen Robinson? Going in the 5th round of many fantasy drafts just 5 weeks ago, Robinson doesn't have a game with more than 5 targets. His season high thru 3 games is 53 receiving yards, 29 of which came on one play. He's averaging 6.1 fantasy points per game, the lowest of his career (aside from his ACL shortened 2017). When Ben Skowronek plays ahead of and outproduces you, that is a major red flag. Plus, the 49ers are one of the league's most stifling pass defenses so far this season, limiting wide receiver efficiency. At least Robinson has Matthew Stafford at quarterback.

Brandon Aiyuk, however, is still searching for his breakout game. He's earned 8 targets each of the last 2 games, but has only caught half of his passes during that span and was limited to 4.9 yards per target in Week 3 against Denver. Unfortunately, for Aiyuk, his recently weekly performances have only hovered in the 40-60th percentile ranges for his career. With Jimmy Garroppolo at the helm, that ceiling may not come to fruition. In fact, we haven't seen a 16-point performance from Aiyuk since Week 15 of 2020.

Final Pick: Brandon Aiyuk. This is a matter of floors. While Allen Robinson may score a TD, which might be enough to outscore Aiyuk, Brandon Aiyuk's target share indicates a stronger role in the offense and a better bet moving into Week 4.

David Njoku + 0.5 Vs. Pat Freiermuth

Classic battle of the back-end TE1s in this matchup. Njoku is coming off a career game with 9 receptions, 10 targets, 89 yards, and a receiving TD. He was a focal point of the offense as Jacoby Brissett looked surprisingly good pushing the ball down the field. It was only a matter of time before Njoku started to pop after running routes at similar rates to other TE1s in the NFL earlier this season. Now we've seen that route participation come to fruition as the 6'4" 246 lbs former 1st round TE finished second overall at the position in Week 3. Is this the real Jacoby Brissett, though? If not, how consistent can Njoku be moving forward?

Pat Freiermuth has been a more consistent staple of the Pittsburgh offense through 3 weeks. Freiermuth has more targets, more yards, and higher yards per reception than Njoku. He's also bigger at 6'5" 258 lbs. That's the good news. The bad news is the Pittsburgh offense isn't good this year. With rumblings of dysfunction from the Steelers, a change to Kenny Pickett could be arriving sooner rather than later. What that means for Freiermuth is uncertain. But for Week 4, he's stuck in a slogging offense that struggles to score, which limits his upside as a player.

Final Pick: David Njoku + 0.5. Both Freiermuth and Njoku have 25.3 fantasy points on the season, but I'll take the points. The matchup with the Falcons looks more appetizing for fantasy, and I might have even taken Njoku in a straight-up matchup.

Antonio Gibson vs. Ezekiel Elliott. Straight Up.

Both Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Gibson have 40 carries on the season. And that's about where the similarities end. Gibson has out-targeted Elliott 13 to 5, scored one more touchdown, and has double-digit fantasy points in three straight games to start the season. Zeke has cracked double-digit points once.

Elliott has faced the 3rd most defenders in the box and has the 4th highest stacked front carry rate among all running backs-- making his seemingly-pedestrian 4.4 yards per carry actually quite impressive. Zeke is running the ball well in 2022. The problem is he's not getting elite rush volume, with season highs of only 15 carries so far. Compare that to Antonio Gibson who faces the 46th most defenders in the box and has the 47th highest stacked front carry rate, while only averaging 3.1 yards per carry this season. Gibson also isn't getting an elite number of carries, and with a 52nd-ranked juke rate, Gibson simply isn't running the ball well at all.

Final Pick: Antonio Gibson. Gibson is RB10 in receiving yards, RB12 in receptions, RB8 in yards per reception, RB6 in yards per route run, and has a 10.2% target share on the season even with pass-catching RB JD McKissic and WR/RB hybrid Curtis Samuel also taking away short yardage passing work. With Wentz constantly under pressure, Gibson is a safety valve and can access upside through the receiving game better than Ezekiel Elliott.

You can follow me on Twitter @FFStalder for more!

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