It was another wild weekend in the NFL. We saw our first London game, and a loaded early schedule. We also saw some close finishes and some unexpected finishes. All that could well leave you hoping for some big performances tonight. I’ll preview the Monday Night Football game in a minute, but first let’s look at the rest of what we learned from a crazy Week 4 in the NFL.
Player Safety is under the microscope
And it should be. We all saw what happened to Tua Tagovailoa on Thursday night, a mere five days after what looked like a bad situation on Sunday. The NFL has already dismissed the doctor involved in last Sunday’s incident, citing several failures. Most of us didn’t need an investigation to tell us the process didn’t work. It was obvious. Tua shouldn’t have been out there, but he was. And now we’ll have to see what it means for the Dolphins and their young franchise quarterback. The league needs to do better, hopefully now it will.
Anybody got a quarterback?
There are two teams—the New England Patriots and New York Giants—that were down to QB option No. 3 on Sunday. For the Giants, Daniel Jones hurt his ankle and Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion. Both are iffy for Sunday’s game, which happens to be against the Packers in London. The Patriots are playing domestically, but the situation is no better. Mac Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3. He’s no lock to return for Week 4, while Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion against the Packers. That left rookie Bailey Zappe to fill the void. He acquitted himself well, pushing the Packers to overtime. Still, the Patriots and Giants will be going through a tense week as they try to determine who will start at quarterback in Week 5…
A QB Controversy in Big D?
Word broke Sunday that Dak Prescott will begin throwing this week, paving the way for a possible Week 5 return against the Rams or a Week 6 return against the Eagles. That’s probably for the best. When Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said he fully expected a quarterback controversy by the time Dak returned, most of us laughed. I know I did. But a funny thing happened—Cooper Rush is 3-0 without Dak this season and remains unbeaten for his career. More interesting still is that the Cowboys’ offense looks good and they’re winning games—including division wins over the Giants and Commanders. Should Rush start—and win—against the reigning Super Bowl champions in Week 5 and, well, we might actually have to ask ourselves if it’s Cooper Rush SZN!
Now, on to those Rams and the Monday night game.
Los Angeles Rams (2-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
Division rivalries are always fun, especially this one. The Rams won the Super Bowl last season, and to do it they had to beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. That title game win was a rare victory for the Rams over the 49ers, who’ve seemingly had their number. Will they again on Monday night?
The 49ers’ defense was stout in Week 3 but Jimmy Garoppolo looked a bit rusty. He also didn’t seem to be on the same page with Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, which is problematic. The 49ers have gotten off to slow starts with Shanahan, and it appears they might be headed that way again. This home game against the Rams is a chance to staunch the bleeding, move back to .500 and put themselves in a four-way tie for the division lead. A loss, however, would drop them behind the rest of the pack, literally. The Rams, meanwhile, are 2-1 but haven’t looked incredible. A win in San Francisco would go a long way toward showing them to be the NFC contender most thought they’d be when the season started.
For fantasy, I like Matthew Stafford as a start at quarterback for the Rams, and Cooper Kupp is a start at receiver. I wouldn’t blame you if you rolled out Cam Akers at running back, though I’d view him as more of a flex. Sadly, I’m not confident in Allen Robinson. He’s a boom-bust flex option at best. For the 49ers, with Trent Williams out, it’s fair to be cautious. Jimmy G. is a low-end QB2 at best, while Jeff Wilson is a decent flex option. I like Deebo Samuel as a start at receiver, and Brandon Aiyuk as a flex. Meanwhile, I think George Kittle could be in for a bigger game at tight end, so I’m firing him up.
The Pick: The Rams
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.