Welcome to the Week 4 edition of The Inside Look for the 2022 NFL season. This will be a data driven article and will go under the hood to see if the box scores tell the whole story about what transpired during the weekend. My goal here will be to either calm your nerves about a player that may have underperformed or cause you to rethink some of the spots you may have taken.
Let’s dig in to the data!
Before we dig in to individual player performances I wanted to take a moment to talk about why we focus so heavily on Targets. Targets equal opportunities and in fantasy opportunity more often than creates production. The more targets that a player gets the better chance there is that the player will return on value.
Cooper Kupp did everything but find the end zone Monday night. With the Rams seemingly down the entire game, Stafford was forced to the throw the ball a ton. That equated to a season high 19 targets for Kupp and a career high 14 receptions for Kupp. His final stat line for the night was 14 catches for 122 yards. He’s now reached at least 100 yards receiving in 3 of the games this season. Up next for the Rams will be a matchup of the Coopers as the Cooper Kupp and his teammates take on Cooper Rush and the Cowboys.
With a combination of Tua and Teddy Bridgewater throwing to him, Tyreek Hill was targeted a season-high 14 times. He’s now had double-digit targets in 3 of the games and for the second time this season, Hill finished with over 100 receiving yards. Unlike the first time he did though, Hill failed to find the end zone and the Dolphins fell to the Bengals 27-15. The Dolphins will look to return to the win column next week vs. the New York Jets.
Another receiving that had a monster stat line that was missing a touchdown was Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings. After being completely invisible in Weeks 2 and 3, Jefferson returned to form in Week 4 with a season-high 10 catches on a season-high 13 targets. His 147 receiving yards were the most he’s had since Week 1 vs. the Packers. Next up for the Vikings will be a touch test with the Bears, a team that has given up just 725 yards through the air this season.
Similar to Week 2, this was another disappointing week in terms of targets and running backs. Not a single back this weekend was targeted more in double digits.
While the rushing yards weren’t there for Christian McCaffrey this weekend, McCaffrey owners had to be excited about his participation in the passing game. Coming into Week 4, McCaffrey had been targeted just 10 times. This week he nearly doubled his season total with 9 targets. He was able to catch all of them and finished with a season-high 81 receiving yards.
Return of the Hock! Coming into Week 4, T.J Hockenson hadn’t been targeted more than 7 times in any game this season. That all changed this weekend. Thanks to being without D’Andre Swift, DJ Chark, and Amon-Ra St. Brown, Hockenson was targeted 12 times. And he made the absolute most of those as he caught 8 of them and went for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 12 targets were the most he’s ever had in a game and this was the first time since his first NFL game in 2019 that he surpassed 100 receiving yards.
Similar to his teammate Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee had a season-high in targets with 14 of them. Also like Kupp, Higbee failed to find the endzone. Although he didn’t score, Higbee did set season highs in receptions with 10 and receiving yards with 73.
Ryan Tannehill only threw the ball 21 times this weekend, but of those nearly half of them went to his running backs. Tannehill and Robert Woods have yet to really click as Woods hasn’t had more than 4 catches in any game this season. This offense runs through Derrick Henry. And that is as clear as it has ever been as he led the team in targets this week with 5.
Another thing that was crystal clear in Week 4 was Kirk Cousins use of his standout wide receivers. Justin Jefferson and Adam ‘I’ve got a’ Thielen accounted for 22 of Kirk Cousins 35 passes. In total, more than 70% of Kirk Cousins’ passes this weekend went to a wide receiver.
Holy usage Saquon Barkley! Barkley ran the ball 31 times this weekend. Through the first 3 games of the season, he hadn’t ran the ball more than 21 times in a game. The 31 rushes were the most he’s had in a game in the NFL. After failing to reach the century mark in Weeks 2 and 3, Barkley ran for 146 yards this weekend. He’s now run for over 100 yards in 2 of the 4 games this season. Up next will be a date with the Packers, a team that has given up the fifth most rushing yards of any team in the league this season.
Josh Jacobs, have yourself a day! Josh Jacobs ran the ball 28 times on Sunday and finished with a career-high 144 rushing yards. To make it even sweet for fantasy owners, Jacobs also found the end zone 2 times on Sunday. Next week he’ll get a much tougher task as he’ll face off against the Chiefs, the team that has given up the few rushing yards this season.
The ‘Playbook’ as I like to call it shows a breakdown of the play splits that teams used this past weekend.
The New York Giants ran 59 plays this weekend, 75% of which were run plays. With the passing game seemingly ineffective and Daniel Jones going down and then Tyrod Taylor also going down, the Giants just ran, and then ran some more. It proved effective as they topped the Chicago Bears by a score of 20-12.
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum we have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs ran 58 plays this week, with 90% of them being pass plays. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin back, Tom Brady threw the ball 52 times for 385 yards. If only Brady could play defense.
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I've been playing fantasy sports since I was 12, which means I've been playing for over half of my life. I love DFS and season-long formats and have been writing for nearly a decade. I started my writing career at RotoWire and currently write for FantasyPros, Rotoballer, Razzball and DFSR. I cover NBA, MLB and NFL and follow all major sports. I generally cover primarily DFS but I also do game previews, recaps, player write-ups, injury updates etc.
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