Week 4 is in the books and with four solid offensive teams on byes (Cardinals, Panthers, Falcons, Eagles), it was the first week for fantasy owners to find out if their bench players would rise to the occasion. Safe to say that some did and many didn’t given the scoring this week.
In other news, I feel like a converted man this week. I’m beginning to believe in a bunch of players that I’ve never believed in before. Hopefully they don’t let me down.
- Steve Smith, Giants – Now I believe. Meet fantasy football’s top WR after four weeks. It’s kind of embarrassing but it’s taken me four weeks to jump on the “other” Steve Smith bandwagon. This Steve Smith is averaging 16 fantasy points per game, is 2nd amongst WRs in targets and looks like Eli Manning’s go-to receiver in an offense that has been surprisingly pass heavy. Am I convinced he will keep it up? Absolutely not but I am convinced that he is now a mid-tier WR2.
- Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars – Now I believe. Meet fantasy football’s 4th ranked WR. Take out a Week 1 clunker (no points – is there a reason the Jags started Troy Williamson ahead of this guy?) and Sim-Walker has the 2nd highest average points per game. He’s aveaged 10 targets over the last 3 weeks and is clearly David Garrard‘s go-to guy. Sorry if I’m sounding redundant but the facts are the facts.
- Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – He’s hit double digit fantasy points two weeks in a row and scored a TD in each game. Plus, backup Correll Buckhalter suffered a sprained ankle this week that had him on crutches after the game although he indicated that he felt fine. Think new head coach Josh McDaniels’ Belichick-inspired injury policies are filtering down to the players? Up next are the Patriots (103 rushing yards to Ray Rice this week) and Chargers (28th ranked run defense).
- Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – After getting benched in Week 3, Mendenhall came on strong this week against the Chargers putting up 165 yards and 2 TD on the ground to go with 26 receiving yards. With Willie Parker not producing on a consistent basis, Mendenhall’s performance increases the likelihood he will get a shot as the feature back. At worst, he’s earned more carries and likely the goal line work given his strong performance in that area this week.
- Ricky Williams, Dolphins – With another strong performance this week, Williams is on pace for 992 rushing yards, 248 receiving yards and 12 TD. The TD help put him in low RB2 status or make him an excellent play in flex leagues. With Chad Henne at QB, the Dolphins are going to run plenty so Williams should provide consistent production.
- Derek Anderson, Browns – He’s likely available on the waiver wire and he just put up solid numbers against a decent Bengals defense. If you’re in need of a starter in Week 5, you could do worse than Anderson going against a Bills pass defense that is ranked in the bottom half of the league and will be missing two or three starters.
- Jerome Harrison, Browns – Not that you want to own any Cleveland players, but they are coming off their best offensive performance of the season, Jamal Lewis may not be part of their plans going forward, rookie 6th round pick James Davis was just placed on injured reserve and Harrison had 121 rushing yards plus 31 through the air.
- Bernard Berrian, Vikings – Berrian was a forgotten many after three weeks with only 102 yards receiving, partially explained by a hamstring injury suffered during the pre-season. However, he got open deep this week for a score and finished with 75 yards on 6 receptions. Bottom line is that Berrian is the team’s best deep threat and Brett Favre likes to throw deep. So the question is – prior to this week, were the Vikings not going deep because they don’t want to or because Berrian was hurt?
- Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns – Braylon Edwards‘ disappearing act continues with an 0-fer this week. Massaquoi stepped into the breach with 148 yards on 8 receptions. If Anderson’s going to throw it to him 13 times every week, then he’s a decent option as a WR3 or bye week filler.
- Sam Hurd, Cowboys – Other than in Week 1 against the Bucs, Roy Williams hasn’t got it done. Ditto for Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin. And with those three guys leading the Cowboys WR corps, Tony Romo hasn’t gotten it done for the past three weeks. So, doesn’t it reason that it’s time for the Cowboys to give Hurd a shot? Of course, that would mean relying on Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett thinking logically so maybe it’s not such a sure thing.
- Earl Bennett, Bears – The good news for Bennett is that both Devin Hester and Johnny Knox suffered injuries this week. The bad news is that Bennett still only had two targets. So, the injury news later this week should tell us if the glass is half-full or half-empty.
- Michael Bush and Justin Fargas, Raiders – Hey, if you’re desperate, grab one of these guys. The Raiders are saying Darren McFadden is out 2-4 weeks with a torn meniscus but the typical recovery from this type of injury is 4-6 weeks. The smart money should be on Bush because he’s the younger of the two and the Raiders are going nowhere this year. However, good luck crawling into Al Davis’ head on this one. And yes, he is likely the one to decide who gets the bulk of the workload with McFadden out.
- Jermichael Finley, Packers – Finley was a clueless rookie in 2008 but there were reports in training camp that the light was coming on. In Week 4, it shone brightly with 6 receptions for 128 yards and a TD.
- Rashad Jennings, Jaguars – Jennings had 9 carries for 53 yards in mop-up duty this week against the Titans. Nothing to get excited about but he has apparently moved ahead of Montell Owens and Greg Jones to secure handcuff status behind Maurice Jones-Drew.
- Ryan Moats, Texans – Ditto for Moats who has supplanted Chris Brown as Steve Slaton‘s backup and had 56 yards on 15 carries after the Texans had put away the Raiders.
- Drew Brees, Saints – After Week 2, he was on pace for 5,352 passing yards and 72 TD passes. Since then, he’s thrown for 362 yards and no TDs. Hey, I’m not down on him but you have to admit that he’s moved down since Week 2. If you’ve got a chance to get him, go for it. The price might never be cheaper.
- Tony Romo, Cowboys – Romo looked like a stud in Week 1 against the Bucs with 29 fantasy points. Since then, he has averaged 14 points per game and that was aided by a Week 2 rushing TD. He was scattershot this week against the Broncos who took away TE Jason Witten with constant double coverage. The team’s wide receivers have struggled and until someone emerges at the position, Romo is going to continue to struggle.
- Eli Manning, Giants – Manning has put together a nice 4-game stretch, averaging over 21 fantasy points a game, which begs the question – why is he Moving Down? Well, methinks trying to plant and throw with plantar fasciitis is going to be a tad painful. The Giants are saying he’s had it for weeks but he aggravated it this week. This type of injury lingers once it’s been aggravated.
- Clinton Portis, Redskins – He’s been here before and he’s here again. In games against the Rams, Lions and Bucs, he has 234 total yards and no TD. Enough said.
- Darren McFadden, Raiders – The good news is that the Texans stacked the box and that mostly explains McFadden’s 6 carries for minus 3 yards. Or was it because he was playing with a torn meniscus? The bad news is that the previously forgotten Justin Fargas had 10 carries and quarterback JaMarcus Russell had another horrendous game. With Russell at the helm and no decent option at backup QB (Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski), the Raiders offense figures to struggle for the balance of the season. Looks like McFadden’s breakout season will not materialize this year or perhaps ever.
- Roy Williams, Cowboys – I gave up on Williams in a dynasty league after Week 2 when he had 1 reception for 18 yards. That followed a Week 1 performance that was aided by a blown coverage that went for a TD. Let’s just say that Thomas Jones and Williams for Moreno and Santana Moss is looking good right now. The Cowboys are saying that Williams wasn’t on the field for their final, last gasp attempt to tie the Broncos because he had an undisclosed injury. Presumably he had the wind knocked out of him on a hard hit. Frankly, it’s hard to conclude that his presence would have mattered in the outcome of the game. And his presence isn’t helping your fantasy roster either.
- Mario Manningham, Giants – Rookie 1st round pick Hakeem Nicks is back and had an explosive 54-yard catch and run TD this week while Manningham caught just 1 of the 8 passes that came his way, although it was for 43 yards. I wouldn’t move him just yet but it would be nice to see him step up when all of the team’s WR are healthy.
- JaMarcus Russell, Raiders – He’s horrible. Plain and simple. His wide receivers are horrible. There are no reasons why he should be on your fantasy roster. Be an adult. Own up to it. You blew it when you got this guy. Get rid of him. Now.
- Chris Brown, Texans – Lost his job to Moats and didn’t get a single carry in this week’s blowout win over the Raiders. Kiss him goodbye.
- Kyle Boller, Rams – In case you were thinking the Rams were going to give Boller a shot to keep the job when Marc Bulger returns from injury, this week’s performance should cause you to think otherwise.
Not Sold Yet
- Sammy Morris, Patriots – His Week 4 line goods good: 21 yards and a TD on the ground and 35 receiving yards. Unfortunately, the Patriots spread it around too much at RB for any one player to have value. Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney each had 7 carries. Kevin Faulk had 5 and Morris had 6. The only difference on the stat line was the TD. Good luck predicting which RB gets that every week.
- Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars – 4 for 76 and a TD for the confounding Lewis this week. He looks the part and has now posted two games of 60-plus yards and a TD. Lewis has the talent and with little depth at WR behind Torry Holt and Sims-Walker, there is a decent chance that he will get consistent touches over the balance of the season. However, I’m not buying yet.
- Glen Coffee, 49ers – The rookie put up 106 total yards in his first start this week which seems decent enough. However, it took him 28 touches to get those yards, he never found the end zone and it all came against the pathetic Rams.
- Seneca Wallace, Seahawks – Matt Hasselbeck is apparently going to be back this week so Wallace’s 2-week run as the starter is over. Keep him in mind when Hasselbeck goes down again, likely sooner than later.