The NFL had its first COVID-19 outbreak this week, causing the Steelers-Titans game to be rescheduled to Week 7.
With a minor scare for the Patriots-Chiefs game after Cam Newton tested positive, the rest of the league remained unscathed and on schedule.
Every Tuesday, we recap notable fantasy performances from the previous week's games. Let's take a look at Week 4:
Brett Rypien got the start for the Broncos Thursday night, throwing for 242 yards and 2 TDs while also throwing 3 INTs in the 2nd half. Melvin Gordon had 107 yards and 2 TDs while Tim Patrick led Broncos receivers with 113 yards and a TD. For the Jets, Sam Darnold had 230 yards through the air and a career high 84 yards on the ground. Jamison Crowder had 104 yards on 7 catches, leading all Jets receivers.
Drew Brees had 246 yards and 2 TDs this week for the Saints, while Alvin Kamara once again showed how much of a dual threat RB he can be with 83 yards and a TD on the ground along with 36 yards through the air. Latavius Murray had 2 rushing TDs this week, while Tre'Quan Smith was on the receiving end of both of Brees' TDs. Matthew Stafford threw for 3 TDs, while Adrian Peterson picked up 1 on the ground for the Lions. Kenny Golladay made a successful return to the lineup, grabbing 4 balls for 62 yards and a TD.
Chargers 31 - Buccaneers 38
Tom Brady exploded this week, throwing for 369 yards and 5 TDs while the Bucs' Ronald Jones had 20 carries for 111 yards. Mike Evans, Scotty Miller and OJ Howard were on the receiving end of Brady's TDs. Howard was feared to be lost for the year with an achilles injury during the game. Justin Herbert went 20-25 for 290 yards and 3 TDs. The big story out of LA though is Austin Ekeler going down with an hyper extended knee and significant hamstring injury.
Unreal completion from @TomBrady to OJ Howard 😱 #GoBucs 📺: #TBvsDEN on FOX 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app:… https://t.co/6B5sU2u4xL— NFL (@NFL)1601242851.0
Joe Burrow got his first win in a Bengals uniform this week throwing for 300 yards and a TD. Joe Mixon had a breakout game, going for 151 yards and 2 TDs on 25 carries. AJ Green continues to be absent from the Bengals offense, only garnering 1 catch for 2 yards. Gardner Minshew III had 351 yards and 2 TDs through the air, both to DJ Chark Jr, who had 95 of Minshew's passing yards. James Robinson had an efficient day, gaining 107 all purpose yards on 21 touches.
Minnesota beat Houston this week, dropping the Texans to 0-4 and costing Bill O'Brien his job. The Vikings continued to feed Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen the ball, both players were over 100 yards and accounted for 217 of Kirk Cousins' 260 yards passing. Dalvin Cook had 130 yards and 2 TDs as well. For Houston, Deshaun Watson had 300 yards and 2 TDs, while David Johnson could only muster 63 yards on 16 carries. Will Fuller had over 100 yards and a TD.
The only rookie WR with a 90+ PFF grade through four weeks since '06: 🔹 2020 Justin Jefferson - (90.6) https://t.co/4rPBn0GOQm— PFF (@PFF)1601909029.0
The Seahawks continued its tour with the AFC East this week, stomping a spunky Dolphins squad in Miami. Russell Wilson had 360 yards and 2 TDs through the air, while Chris Carson had 80 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. DK Metcalf was the only Seahawks receiver over the century mark. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 300 yards but also 2 costly INTs. Devante Parker led Dolphins' wide receivers with 110 yards.
Baker Mayfield led an efficient Browns scoring attack with 165 yards and 2 TDs through the air. Kareem Hunt had 2 TDs on he ground after Nick Chubb exited the game with an ankle injury. Odell Beckham Jr had 2 TDs through the air as well as a rushing TD for the Browns. Dak Prescott was brilliant again this week, throwing for over 500 yards and 4 TDs. The Cowboys couldn't get anything going on the ground, as Ezekiel Elliott had 54 yards on 12 carries. Ceedee Lamb was on the receiving end of 2 of Dak's TD passes.
Updated #Browns notes with @ByGeorgeThomas • Jarvis Landry proud to reach 100th #NFL game — his "Joe Thomas stat"… https://t.co/MUbcR2O7S1— Nate Ulrich (@Nate Ulrich)1601585768.0
Carolina shocked the Cardinals this week, holding one of the leagues top offenses in check. Kenyan Drake was stifled on the ground, averaging only 2.7 yards on 13 carries. Kyler Murray had 133 yards on 33(!) attempts while also contributing 78 yards on the ground. Teddy Bridgewater had 276 yards and 2 TDs through the air along with one on the ground. Mike Davis had 84 yards and a TD on the ground for the Panthers.
Ravens 31 - Washington 17
Lamar Jackson had 193 yards and 2 TDs through the air, adding 53 yards and a TD on the ground for the Ravens as they coasted past Washington this week. Mark Andrews was on the receiving end of both of Jackson's TDs. Dwayne Haskins had 314 yards through the air, while Antonio Gibson had 128 all purpose yards and a TD for Washington. Terry McLaurin had over 100 yards to lead Washington's receiving core
The Rams struggled on offense this week agains the Giants. Jared Goff only had 200 yards through the air for the Rams while Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr combined for 59 yards rushing. Cooper Kupp saved his fantasy day, taking a slant for a long TD late in the game. Daniel Jones had very little time to throw the ball, only amassing 190 yards while Devonta Freeman only mustered 33 yards on 11 carries.
Josh Allen continued to produce for Buffalo this week, throwing for 288 yards and 2 TDs. Stefon Diggs had 115 yards through the air, while Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis each had a receiving TD. Devin Singletary had 76 all purpose yards and a TD as well. Derek Carr had a good day throwing the ball, amassing over 300 yards and 2 TDs. Darren Waller had 88 yards but also had a costly fumble late in the game. Josh Jacobs was held in check, gaining 48 yards on 15 carries.
ALLEN TO DIGGS! 🔥 #BillsMafia https://t.co/lUxHLgCwkP— Tobacco Roots (@Tobacco Roots)1601852548.0
Philip Rivers had 190 yards and a TD for the Colts this week, while Jonathan Taylor had 68 yards on the ground in a low scoring affair with the Bears. Nick Foles had 249 yards and a TD, while David Montgomery had nowhere to run, gaining 27 yards on 10 carries. Allen Robinson was the lone bright spot for Chicago, going over 100 yards and a TD.
The Eagles shocked the 49ers on Sunday night behind an opportunistic defense and an efficient Carson Wentz. Wentz threw for 193 yards and a TD, while also contributing 37 yards and a TD on the ground. The 49ers benched Nick Mullens after two costly INTs for CJ Beathard. Jerrick McKinnon had 54 yards and a TD, while Brandon Aiyuk took an end around for a score as well.
New England struggled on offense without Cam Newton at QB. Brian Hoyer and Jarett Stidham struggled to get anything going against the Chiefs. Damien Harris had 100 yards for the Patriots, while Damiere Byrd led the receivers with 80 yards. Patrick Mahomes had 236 yards and 2 TDs, one going to Tyreek Hill and the other going to Mecole Hardman.
Matt Ryan had 285 yards through the air for the Falcons, but it wasn't enough to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers from dropping the Falcons to 0-4. Rodgers had 4 TDs and 327 yards through the air. Robert Tonyan had 98 yards and 3 of Rodgers' 4 TDs. Aaron Jones had 71 yards on 15 carries for the Packers. Todd Gurley scored both of the Falcons TDs on the ground, while also gaining 57 yards on 16 carries.
In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.
After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.
The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.
It should also be stated that Reggie Jackson has been really good for Los Angeles throughout the playoffs and is someone that the team leans on to take and make tough shots in crunch time. His fearlessness attacking the rim provides a lot of space for his teammates.
Reggie Jackson after getting his free agency bag this summer https://t.co/kgR7AUeQZ5— Josiah Johnson (@Josiah Johnson)1624936925.0
The Suns have dropped two of the last three games, and their win came in Game 4 which saw a final tally of 84-80 so it's tough to gauge how much stock to take in that victory. What I'm trying to say is the Clippers have definitely looked the part of a Western Conference Champion the past three games, and the Suns are at risk of flaming out.
Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (MCL sprain) will not play tonight in Game 5 of the WCF against the Phoenix Suns.— Chris Haynes (@Chris Haynes)1624923130.0
The Clippers' starting big man, Ivica Zubac, was out with a knee injury while Los Angeles out scored the Suns by 26 in the paint. So far in every game but one (Game 3 when L.A. beat Phoenix 106-92) the team that has scored the most points in the paint has ended up winning. Both teams are good from the free throw line and it gets the opposition into foul trouble so it is a sound strategy for either side. But Deandre Ayton wasn't able to get much going offensively in Game 5 finishing with only 10 points in 37 minutes.
For the Suns, they were quick to point out their own shortcomings following the loss. Coach Monty Williams noted, "It's just unacceptable the way we started the game," he continued on to compare the Suns and Clippers in Game 5, "We showed up in the first quarter, and they played with desperation."
Monty Williams: “Leadership is tricky - if you can’t get people to follow you, you’re just walking by yourself”— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel Nichols)1624922492.0
Chris Paul who had 22 points and eight assists talked about Phoenix's inability to hold onto advantages, "We've got to close quarters better," Paul goes on to say, "that's been a problem for us all series long."
Paul has been a leader both on and off the court helping this young team to play far above the level anyone expected them to this season, but he's also been a part of many teams that fell short in the playoffs.
A championship run is the one knock on his hall of fame resume, and it seemed destined to happen this year especially after the Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead. But he isn't the only player who has had their reputation affected by playoff performances.
The nickname Playoff P isn't an endearing one. It has become synonymous with Paul George and his failures in the postseason up to this point. Any success that the Clippers were going to have this year was always likely to be attributed to Kawhi Leonard, but now that he is sidelined it's all on PG to carry the load.
George entered rarified air Monday night joining the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant as players who scored 20 or more points in each of the first 18 games in a postseason. All of their teams reached the Finals. George is hoping to follow suit as the Clippers are headed back home to host Game 6.
Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.
Offense being the key word here.
Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.
For a player that relies so heavily on driving to the basket to get shots off close to the hoop, it's expected for that player to draw plenty of contact resulting in a lot of free throw opportunities. That was certainly indicative of what we saw from Simmons in the first two rounds of the 20-21 playoffs.
He got to the line 45 times against the Hawks in their second round matchup, but only converted 15 freebies which equates to a 33% free throw percentage in the series. Simmons shot just 34.2% from the stripe if you include their first round games against the Wizards, which accounts for the worst free throw percentage by a player with at least 70 attempts in a postseason in NBA playoff history.
With a minimum of 70 attempts, Ben Simmons' 34.2% free throw percentage this postseason is the worst in a postseaso… https://t.co/EvEcQxEe8m— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPN Stats & Info)1624244835.0
In the four games that Atlanta beat Philly in this series, they lost by a combined 17 points. If Ben Simmons shoots just 70% from the line and makes 31-45 during this series, that adds 16 to Philadelphia's series point total. Obviously, the attempts might not directly impact the losses, but from a very broad overview, it would draw the series significantly closer — especially taking into account that three of the four losses the 76ers took in the series were lost by four points or fewer.
Also let's not allow people to say that the free throw stat is overblown and out of context. It's not. Shaquille O'Neal, who is notoriously one of the worst free throw shooters in league history, still managed a career playoff free throw percentage of 50%. That's why we saw the conception of "Hack-a-Shaq" where teams would intentionally foul O'Neal to put him on the line rather than allowing him to hurt them in other ways.
We've begun to see teams adopt this practice now with Simmons, which is just flat out embarrassing for a player of Simmons' pedigree. We have seen what he's able to do with the ball. He flies down the court on fast breaks, is a brilliant creator for teammates, and is one of the better finishers at the rim that we have in the league today.
We've already touched on his defensive prowess that has elevated him to becoming NBA All-Defense multiple times and a three time All-Star. But what do the Sixers do with Simmons before next season?
The 24-year-old point-forward still has plenty of time to work on his game. We've seen other players add a jumper later in their careers to great success; just ask Vince Carter how that works. But, usually, in order to develop a perimeter shot, there is at least a solid foundation to build on — that being the ability to consistently hit free throws.
Simmons is a career 60% free throw shooter, and he shot right around the mean during the regular season. The decline in made shots from the charity stripe in this postseason is cause for concern that this isn't the beginning of a trend.
Add to that Simmons' reluctance to take shots further away from the basket, and defenses have the luxury of ignoring Simmons in the half court set. We have seen teams (like the Jazz and 76ers) that rely heavily on the pick and roll get shut down in these playoffs, and it's teams like Atlanta and Phoenix that are able to spread defenses thin by putting multiple shooters on the court at one time succeed.
In 34 career playoff games, Ben Simmons has made 5 shots outside of 10 feet (from the basket).— Paul Hembekides (@Paul Hembekides)1624277710.0
Joel Embiid was phenomenal in the postseason, so let's not ignore that fact. Also, he was playing on one knee and still almost willed the Sixers to a win. But again, Embiid was not 100% in the playoffs, which limited his abilities.
Doc Rivers answers a question whether Ben Simmons can be the point guard of a championship team https://t.co/8xL35u98RC— Rob Perez (@Rob Perez)1624244460.0
Following their loss, Doc Rivers was asked if he thought Ben Simmons could be the point guard of a championship team, to which he responded, "I don't know that answer to that question right now," which doesn't provide a whole lot of confidence in Simmons' status with the team next year. Trade rumors have already begun to circulate, and it would make sense for this Philly team to hit the reset button now.
If Simmons continues to be exploitable in big moments, as we've seen him be so far in his career, his value is only going to go down. Adding further complications into the situation is the team just agreed to a new contract extension with Simmons and is due to make between $33 and $40 million per season over the next four years.
As the two cornerstone pieces of The Process appear to be two Scotties without a Mike, the early departure for the East's top seed will likely mean a big shakeup in the near future. If Embiid is healthy, he is elite without question. Maybe Philadelphia will go out and add around their two stars, but unless the organization is confident that Simmons can avoid another atrocious offensive performance in future playoff series, all they have is a really good regular season team.
The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.
After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.
LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.
The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.
🗣 DEVIN BOOKER— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns)1622601795.0
The idea of effort is something that was lacking on the purple and gold side last night though. It didn't take long after Booker started hitting everything that the Lakers team started playing sloppy and launching up bad threes in a failed attempt to not let the game get out of hand. Well it did.
The two teams were among the best defensive teams in league this season, the Suns finished seventh in overall team defensive rating and the Lakers first. The Lakers typically like to use their defensive prowess to control pace and work in the half court with their combination of speed on the wings and their combination of big men down low that includes Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis (when healthy), and former Sixth-Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell. Incase you forgot Harrell does in fact still play for the Lakers, but before last night if you blinked for too long you would've missed him on the court.
WHY ISN’T MONTREZL HARRELL GETTING PLAYING TIME?????@MONSTATREZZ #FreeMontrezl https://t.co/j55u9zg9kN— NBALakersReport (@NBALakersReport)1622603465.0
For some unknown reason Trez has been an afterthought in Frank Vogel's rotations, not only in this series, but throughout parts of the regular season. With AD being ruled out for Game 5, it would've been logical to think that we'd see an uptick in minutes for the high energy reserve, and we did. But not until the game was far out of hand in the second half. While the Suns were building a 30 point lead we saw Phoenix's guards cooking the slower big men of the Lakers off pick and rolls.
30 points is the largest lead at half in Suns playoff history. 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/UoozhMf6Io— Phoenix Suns (@Phoenix Suns)1622604230.0
It's understandable to want some size to limit Deandre Ayton, but when it's Booker, Payne, and Bridges hurting you offensively why not see how a quicker and more agile defender like Harrell might fare slowing down the pick and rolls? We saw Jae Crowder having success doing that on the other side for the Suns all night!
It's not fair to just talk about how bad the Lakers were, in fairness it looked like they were getting open looks and were just collectively having an unlucky shooting night. Maybe they all got it out of their system now? But the Suns would have beat anyone on that home court last night. Let's give all credit to them by playing one of the best games ever seen against a LeBron James-led playoff team. Devin Booker is an absolute star and this team plays with a very focused chip on their shoulder which has been manicured by Chris Paul. His leadership has made ALL the difference for this Phoenix team and it can be seen most on the defensive side of the ball. The Suns players have adopted Paul's attitude and intensity on that end and it all paid off last night.
We've seen LeBron actively frustrated during playoff games on the court, and last night is one of the most cringe-worthy to have seen. James spent way too much time talking to officials about calls, and not just between whistles. It would be interesting to know how many possessions the Lakers played four on five because James never made it back on defense before the Suns put more points on them. LeBron was seen leaving the court with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, and sure it could be to start receiving treatment on the injured ankle. But we know the real reason he left. We can only hope he didn't punch anything on the way to the locker room.
While the teams will travel back to L.A. for Game 6, the Lakers know they are in a must-win situation. We saw the rest of the team around LeBron scrambling because they felt the pressure. James was the only Laker in the second half that kept the team functioning. When we've seen a visibly dejected James like we did last night, it's been because he knew his team didn't have it. I don't think that's the case with this Lakers team.
There's plenty of talent on the roster even without Anthony Davis. Maybe Game 6 is when we get to see Harrell getting some meaningful minutes. Maybe Vogel can devise a way to get Andre Drummond more involved offensively. Maybe AD plays and isn't slowed by the groin injury. Or maybe you should've listened to us back in January when we told you the Suns were a pretty good basketball team.