Week 4 kicks off with the news that Melvin Gordon is coming back and Saquon Barkley is going to be out for a while. The Eagles just ruined all the fun for the Packers on Thursday night to prove winning and losing streaks don’t last for any team. Okay, okay. Maybe for the Patriots.
Jay Ajayi – His name was bounced around this summer and this past week was mentioned again when Saquon Barkley suffered a high-ankle sprain. Ajayi tore his ACL in Week 4 of last year and required season-ending surgery. Ajayi was cleared to play in late July but there were no takers. He had “talks” with the Eagles and Colts but wasn’t signed. If you have an empty spot on your roster, he is understandably tempting. But – this is my guiding light. If all 32 NFL teams weren’t interested in him knowing he was cleared back in July, the odds that he returns and produces significant value are slim. Like “Antonio signed with the Steelers?” kind of slim. Every team employs several people looking for someone, anyone that makes their team better. He fell to the fifth round with fears of his knee breaking down. And now it has.
Melvin Gordon – He ended his 64-day holdout having won the right to forego $2.2 million in fines and salary but can still earn $4.6 million for the rest of the year. He won’t suit up this week but is expected to be ready when they host the Broncos in Week 5. He’ll miss a chance to play the Dolphins this week, so his timing could have been better. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson have filled in well though the Chargers are 1-2. Ekeler returns to his old role and Jackson goes to the bench. But Gordon could take at least a game or two to get back into game form even if he’s taken care of himself while he held out. Gordon makes the Chargers better, but not immediately and maybe not as much as was thought last summer.
Davante Adams – His ten catches for 180 yards were a career-high though he failed to score a touchdown. Adams left in the fourth quarter with what is described as turf toe. He was held to only four catches for 56 yards in Week 3 so Thursday night was expected to see their No. 1 wideout get more attention. Now he’ll likely miss a few weeks and potentially many more. Turf toe typically does not heal quickly. That leaves the door open for extra work for Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison. Jimmy Graham and Mercedes Lewis also will help pitch in. Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and Darrius Shepard could also see playing time but it is a big loss for the Packers who travel to Dallas next week.
The Jets – They are on their bye this week but the expectation is that Sam Darnold will be ready to return from his case of mono. Luke Falk and Trevor Siemian did little but strip the Jets of any perceived fantasy value but take a look at your waiver wire. Robby Anderson gained at least a 70 yards and scored in each of the final three games last year. Chris Herndon will be off his four-game suspension. Jamison Crowder caught 14 passes for 99 yards in Week 1 in his only game with Darnold. The Jets are not going to magically turn around anything, but at least the passing offense should see an uptick for Crowder, Anderson, and Herndon.
Tevin Coleman – The 49ers are also on their bye but Week 5 hosting Cleveland is expected to see Tevin Coleman return. There’s no doubt that the 49ers committee backfield approach remains in effect. But Coleman is expected to replace Jeff Wilson, the guy that scored twice in each of the last two games. Coleman is on more waiver wires than Wilson by now. He won’t ever offer RB1 value but is worth considering if he takes over the goal line role from Wilson.
Dexter Williams – Jamaal Williams left the Thursday night on a stretcher after he was already tackled and DE Derek Barnett hit him helmet-to-helmet. He wasn’t ejected but he’s certain to be fined. Assuming Williams misses time – which seems likely – the Packers will turn to their sixth-round pick to serve as the No. 2 behind Aaron Jones. Not a bad add if your league has Saturday waivers or first-come, first-served.