Week 4 is almost upon us and teams should be starting to take shape in most leagues. It’s always important to run your studs and make the most educated call on everyone else in order to maximize your chances each week. To start’em or to sit’em. That is the question. Start’ems week 4.
Matthew Stafford – Making another appearance on the list, Stafford will face the Cowboys and will look to exploit a number of miss matches with a big one obviously being Calvin Johnson. Even if Terence Newman (concussion) and Mike Jenkins (shoulder) are a go, they will likely struggle with Megatron, and even if they roll coverage the Lions have shown the ability to find other play makers like Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jahvid Best, and Titus Young.
Michael Vick – Over the first 3 games Vick has been under the microscope with his deficiencies being exposed early in the season, coupled with a concussion and a hand injury many owners have reason to falter on him. Remember, Vick came into the season amid praise and a second $100 million deal, now that he has been knocked back to earth he sounds motivated and focused. On that, Vick appears ready to play with a chip on his shoulder in his week 4 match up and we could see a resurgence of the Vick of last season. Don’t be wide eyed over San Fran’s defense who faced Tavaris Jackson, Andy Dalton, and an injured Tony Romo which have skewed their numbers.
Eli Manning – The Giants finally appeared to get things working on offense in terms of the pass. It wasn’t pretty and 2 TDs were bombs, one that Victor Cruz snagged out of double coverage, 1 on a blown coverage on Brandon Jacobs, and one for a shifty catch and run for Ahmad Bradshaw. All that aside, Manning and the Giants were able to walk away from the game with some much needed confidence, and that should translate well into this week when the Giants face the Cardinals who have struggled mightily in the secondary. Hakeem Nicks has been declared a go and should be a big target for Manning and help to curve his fantasy points.
Others that I like: Ryan Fitzpatrick – With the Bills showing no signs of slowing on offense, they face a Bengals team that are untested against a good passing offense. Run him til he slows. Rex Grossman – The Rams have allowed 7 TDs through the air and remain suspect in the secondary after getting torched by the Ravens deep. Another auspicious match up for Grossman. Matt Ryan – The Falcons have not played up expectations, but remain committed to passing with Ryan throwing 47 times in 2 of the first 3 games. The Seahawks defense is another team that looks decent on paper, but has not been tested by a complete offense.
Tim Hightower – The Rams are bad against the run and Tim Hightower has a great history against them. Over 3 seasons with a bad Arizona run game he averaged 4.8 yards per carry for 418 yards and 4 TDs, all while averaging only 14 touches per game. He will be on a better running team this season an should be looking at a nice day even if he gives up some carries to Roy Helu.
Michael Turner – Save for last week’s debacle against Tampa, Turner has run very well this season and is averaging around 5.5 yards per carry. With the Falcons being at 1-2, the team will be looking to make a statement this week against the Seahawks. Turner should see a bulk of the work with Snelling dealing with a concussion and is always a good bet on the goal line.
James Starks – He took a big step back last week after fumbling the ball late in the game against the rival Bears, a play which was magnified by the great play of Ryan Grant. However, Grant suffered a bruised kidney in the game and is likely going to miss this week which would give Starks a chance at redemption. He will face a 14th ranked Broncos defense that the Packers offense should be able to shred. Look for Starks to continue to reenforce Mike McCarthy’s inability to decide on a full time running back with a good showing.
Others that I like: Darren McFadden – McFadden proved he is unbenchable after tearing through the Jets defense. Owners should be salivating over a match up against the Pats’ defense that offenses have been punching holes through. Ryan Mathews – Mathews was able to practice Friday, and he may lose some snaps due to that, but even if he does he has shown that he is easily more explosive than Tolbert. As long as Mathews doesn’t experience pain during the game he should continue to move toward the feature back role.
Calvin Johnson – Let’s face it, if you have Megatron, you’re running him I know. With the Cowboys secondary banged up and little value in the depth behind them, Johnson looks to be in line for a big day. It’s a tasty match up for Megatron owners.
Hakeem Nicks – The first 3 games haven’t been spectacular for Nicks owners, but he has been cleared to play this week after a flare up in the knee he hyper extended in week 1. As mentioned earlier, he faces a struggling Arizona secondary that Nicks should tear into. Look for him to break out of the funk.
Santonio Holmes – Holmes is another player on a different team that will be facing an old division rival. During his time with the Steelers he had 7 TDs in 8 games against the Ravens, with the scores coming in 6 straight games from 07-09, he has a knack for working the Raven’s D. This year the Raven’s pass defense is not good, and Holmes has recently grumbled about not getting the ball enough, which should translate into more targets as the Jets have decided to open up the offense.
Denarius Moore – Moore was the talk of the preseason, and the more work that Moore gets the more he produces. He a has a good match up against a league worst Patriots pass defense. He has shown the ability to make plays through the air, as well as on an occasional reverse. Could be a sneak good pick up and play this week.
Others that I like: Vincent Jackson – Against he Chiefs, the Chargers struggled to protect Rivers, but Jackson managed to pull down 6 catches for 65 yards. His biggest knock has been inconsistent play, but when he puts up numbers he a fantasy football beast. Miami has proven very inconsistent versus the pass. Lance Moore – After being slowed with a groin injury, Moore made his presence felt against the Texans with 9 receptions for 88 yards, a TD, and 2 2-point conversions. He tends to work the underneath routes where the Jags have been suspect.
Jimmy Graham – Averaging 78 yards a game and 4.6 catchers, Graham remains a mismatch for defense, showcasing that ability on a 27 yard TD last week over CB Glover Quinn on a play where he lined up as a wide out. Graham and the Saints will be at Jacksonville this week, and barring another tropical downpour should be in for another good week.
Vernon Davis – Arguably the best player on the 49ers offense, Davis had some words for the coaches after seeing more blocking assignments than targets. The coaches answered the call with 9 targets leading to 8 receptions for 114 yards for Davis. He continues to be the teams biggest passing threat this week against Philly where the Niners could be playing a good deal of the game from behind.
Dustin Keller – Mark Sanchez continues to target his tight end often in games. Keller had 9 targets good for 2nd on the team last week. With word that Rex Ryan will allow Sanchez to throw the ball more, Keller’s targets should be maintained, and against a Raven’s D vulnerable to the pass, Keller could have another good day.
Brandon Pettigrew – The Cowboys will struggle to cover the uncoverable Calvin Johnson and will probably look to double cover him throughout the game, when that occurs Stafford should look to Pettigrew as a safety valve. A big target who got a ton of looks last week. His biggest flaw in fantasy has been consistency.
Others that I like: Greg Olsen – Newton’s passing was down last week thanks to mother nature, but in the midst of the rain Newton found his TEs. Olsen should be looking for a little payback against his former team that underutilized him. Fred Davis – The Cowboys phased Davis out or the coaches didn’t call his number, whatever the case, he won’t be ignored so much this week against St. Louis.
Dan Bailey – Bailey blew up last week for 6 FGs. The Dallas offense is still banged up, but can move the ball. Great atmosphere for a kicker.
Jason Hanson – The Lions look legit, and their offense is roaring, lots of pun. Hanson will get the opportunities with Dallas’ defense able to tighten up at times.
Sebastian Janikowski – Sea Bass can kick it from most distances, and the Raiders are beginning to impose their will on defenses. New England has been unable to stop teams against the pass or run, leaving Janikowski with ample room for a big day.
Others that I like: Matt Bryant – The Falcons with look to reestablish themselves against the Seahawks. Should lead to his fair share of chances. Connor Barth – Indy showed some surprising tenacity against the Steelers last week. Their defense is still giving up the yards though and Barth could cash in.
New Orleans – Jacksonville has their young gun, Blaine Gabbert, playing and Greg Williams knows how to dial up the pressure which should lead to mistakes that the Saints could capitalize on.
Green Bay – The Broncos have labored to just put up yards against teams like the Titans and Bengals. The Pack are one of the few defenses really playing well this season.
Tampa Bay – The Colts gave Pittsburgh a good run on Sunday, but most of their points came through defensive turnovers. The Bucs could take advantage of an inexperienced Curtis Painter.
Thanks for reading. Please post any comments or questions here or you can follow me on Twitter @dwillPSB.
About the Author
Written by David Willow
My name is David Willow. Your NFL and Fantasy Jedi. I have lived in Dallas, TX most of my life. I have been following both football and basketball since I was a child. I love being able to research and analyze different players and teams. I've been a fantasy sports enthusiast for around 8 years with some titles to back that. I have a Bachelors degree in History with a minor in English. Other hobbies include me being part of an acting workshop for five years, playing guitar, and working out. Hit me up with any comments, questions or opinions.