Fantasy Football Week 4 Rankings: Breaking Down Top Players
Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season is just about in the books, with only Monday night's tilt between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks remaining to be played.
With three weeks played in the fantasy football season, teams are beginning to take shape—from 3-0 juggernauts to 0-3 disasters and loads of middle ground in between.
So, whether your fantasy squad is cruising right along or you're trying to right the ship—and with me trying to keep up the momentum generated by last week's Jamaal Charles recommendation—here's a look at some rock-solid and less-than-obvious fantasy plays that should help get your team into the win column in Week 4.
QB: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
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Sunday's blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons is likely a game that San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers would like to forget, as the ninth-year veteran threw for less than 175 yards and tossed a pair of interceptions.
Rivers' fantasy owners would be well-advised to rinse the bad taste left over from his Week 3 stinker from their mouths quickly, as the table is set for a rebound this week in a solid fantasy matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Other quarterbacks with favorable matchups: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (at JAX), Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. WAS), Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at STL)
RB: Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (vs. NO)
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Granted, no one is going to confuse the Green Bay Packers with the Houston Texans any time soon, nor does the 99 yards on 29 carries posted so far by Packers running back Cedric Benson invite a lot of comparisons to Arian Foster.
However, after being gashed for 233 yards by Jamaal Charles on the ground in Week 3, it appears that the New Orleans Saints defense will make any running back look good, making Benson an excellent fantasy start in Week 4.
Other running backs with favorable matchups: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (at JAX), Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR), Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
WR: Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CLE)
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Despite the death of his younger brother the day before, Baltimore Ravens' wide receiver Torrey Smith not only played in Sunday night's big matchup with the New England Patriots, but was a huge key to the Ravens win, reeling in six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The second-year pro should make it two big games in a row this week against the Cleveland Browns, who are still without suspended cornerback Joe Haden and who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2012.
Other wide receivers with favorable matchups: Wes Welker, New England Patriots (at BUF), Eric Decker, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK), Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings (at DET)
TE: Owen Daniels, Houston Texans (vs. TEN)
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The Houston Texans are the AFC's lone-remaining undefeated team, due in large part to a bruising ground game led by running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
However, the passing attack got into the swing of things against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, with tight end Owen Daniels making three catches for 26 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
Daniels now has 13 receptions for 160 yards on the season, and the seventh-year veteran should build on those numbers Sunday against a Tennessee Titans defense that is the friendliest fantasy matchup in the NFL so far this year for tight ends.
Other tight ends with favorable matchups: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at KC), Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (at DET), Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (at ATL)
D/ST: Dallas Cowboys (vs. CHI)
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With the Dallas offense sputtering in Week 3, it was left to linebacker DeMarcus Ware and the Cowboys defense to carry the day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—and carry it they did, notching two sacks, forcing two turnovers and allowing only 10 points.
The Cowboys have a very favorable fantasy matchup in next week's Monday night matchup, facing off against a Chicago Bears team that has struggled to protect quarterback Jay Cutler and may not have the services of star running back Matt Forte.
Other team defenses with favorable matchups: Cincinnati Bengals (at JAX), Arizona Cardinals (vs. MIA), Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)