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Four weeks into the season, we can start drawing some conclusions. Flukey Week 1s, followed by three weeks of lackluster production, are tough to ignore. Players bucking previous trends for a sustained period shouldn't be overlooked. Changes to surroundings are elevating some players to new heights. Let's look at who is trending up and down as we head into Week 5.
QB Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
After a breakout 2022 season, many expected Justin Fields to build off that success in 2023. While the fantasy production hasn't been extraordinary, there is much to be excited about. He's the QB10 on the year and doing so with less than half of last year's per-game rushing output. His 335 passing yards on Sunday set a career-high. Through Fields' first two seasons, he eclipsed 200 passing yards in just 23% of his starts. He's hit that mark in three games so far this year. His pace of 3,659 passing yards and 30 touchdowns would be a considerable jump from last year's 2,242 and 17. Fields has historically been a slow starter. We saw a rough start to his rookie year before a late-season boom. Last year, he was fantasy's QB31 through Week 4 before being the QB3 from Week 5 onward. There's reason to think that despite a relatively slow start this year, Fields can return to form as an elite fantasy asset for the remainder of the season, especially as his schedule softens.
WR Nico Collins, Houston Texans
Rookie seasons from the likes of Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave have spoiled us in recent years. We used to yearn for the Year 3 wide receiver breakout, and that's exactly what we're seeing with Nico Collins this season. His metrics were desirable coming into the league: 6-foot-4 with a size-adjusted speed score inside the 90th percentile. But a turnstile of Davis Mills, Tyrod Taylor, Kyle Allen, and Jeff Driskel under center kept his fantasy production at bay. Collins is the biggest beneficiary as C.J. Stroud continues to cement himself as one of the league's best young quarterbacks. His 428 receiving yards are fifth-most in the league. Only Brandon Aiyuk, Tyreek Hill, and Justin Jefferson have better receiving grades at PFF. He's looking the part of a premier wide receiver in the league and can be counted on as a high-floor/high-ceiling WR2 every week.
RB David Montgomery, Detroit Lions
When the Lions jubilantly drafted Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round of this year's draft, the expectation was that David Montgomery would play second fiddle in the backfield. Montgomery was knocked out of Week 2's outing and missed Week 3, giving us a two-game sample with both running backs in total health. Montgomery has 3.5 times as many carries, nearly twice as many scrimmage yards, and is out-touching Gibbs in the red zone 15-to-2. Some analysts compared 2022's Detroit backfield with Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift to this year's new duo; those comps appear accurate. Gibbs gets occasional touches, mostly on passing downs, while Montgomery is the team's between-the-tackles and goal-line hammer. His usage in this prolific offense should easily push him into top-12 weekly consideration at the position.
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