With four weeks of the NFL season nearly in the books we can start to see trends. One of the biggest things is always who is unbeaten and who is winless. After four weeks, both those things are telling signs. One of the NFL’s unbeatens, the Las Vegas Raiders, play tonight. We’ll look more at that game in a minute. First, let’s look at the unbeaten, the winless and the Cordarrelle Patterson of it all.
The Cardinals are on Fire
Who had the Cardinals as the only 4-0 team in the NFL? I thought Arizona would be good, likely making the playoffs but this week I picked the Rams to remain unbeaten. Instead, the Cardinals went to Los Angeles and hung 37 on their division rivals, slowing down the Rams’ red-hot offense, too. Matthew Stafford came into the game averaging 300 yards and three touchdowns a game. The Cardinals held him to 280 and two touchdowns, forcing his second interception of the season. Kyler Murray meanwhile looked solid, while James Conner added a couple more big TDs on the ground. The Cardinals have a diverse offense with a lot of playmakers and have a defense capable of making its own big plays. It’s possible by the end of tonight they’re the only unbeaten team in the NFL.
The Jaguars and Lions have work to do
The Lions figured to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Detroit is in the midst of a re-build and despite that have looked frisky. While Sunday’s loss to the Bears was tough, the Lions made a run on the 49ers in Week 1 and nearly clipped the Ravens in Week 3. Instead, they sit at 0-4 but have been fun to watch. The Jaguars have looked like a dumpster fire. After going 1-15 in 2020, the Jaguars cleaned house. New coach Urban Meyer and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence were supposed to make a difference but it hasn’t happened. Lawrence looked better at times in Week 4 but the Jaguars wasted a 14-0 lead and ended up three-point losers. The Jaguars have injuries and other issues making it fair to wonder when they might get that first elusive W.
Cordarrelle Patterson looks like fantasy gold
The Falcons lost Sunday, but Patterson was impressive. He only had six carries for 34 yards but caught five passes for 82 yards and THREE touchdowns. Through four games, Patterson has 18 receptions for 235 yards and four touchdowns, adding 129 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He’s become a reliable fantasy play and one of the best options on the Falcons’ offense. His Sunday was the kind of explosive performance that I thought we’d see from Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. If you scooped up Patterson late, or on the waiver wire, you’re a winner so far.
Now, on to tonight’s game.
Monday Night Preview
The Raiders (3-0) head to Los Angeles to battle the Chargers (2-1) in an AFC West showdown. The Chargers have been solid, beating Washington and the Chiefs will narrowly losing to the Cowboys. The Raiders, meanwhile, have been on fire offensively, beating the Ravens, Steelers and Dolphins in consecutive weeks. Derek Carr has led the way with 1,203 yards in three games, averaging more than 400 yards a game.
For fantasy, Carr and tight end Darren Waller are great starts. Second-year receiver Henry Ruggs III has looked good a times and is worthy of a deep league flex. The run game is more of a question. Josh Jacobs missed last week but could be back Monday night. If not, Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber will be the platoon. Given the matchup, I’m staying away from the backfield if possible.
For the Chargers, Justin Herbert looks like one of the best quarterbacks in the league, while Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are off to great starts. All four should be in your starting lineup. Those are the only Chargers I feel confident in starting.
This figures to be a fierce battle. At the end of the day, I think the Chargers get the win, leaving the Cardinals as the NFL’s lone unbeaten team after four weeks.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.