The following rankings support my early top-25 picks for Week 4, among fantasy quarterbacks.
To clarify, this countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat. It's merely an educated early guess of which signal-callers will have the best combination of total yards (passing/rushing) and total touchdowns for the NFL's fourth weekend.
Regardless of how these rankings shake out every week, it shouldn't supersede two important factors that go into regular lineup consideration:
1. Always give preferential treatment to healthy superstars
2. Always ride your gut instinct
NOTE: The Colts and Steelers are on their bye week.
Top 25 QBs For Week 4
1. Aaron Rodgers vs. New Orleans
2. Tom Brady @ Buffalo
3. Drew Brees @ Green Bay
4. Michael Vick vs. N.Y. Giants
5. Cam Newton @ Atlanta
6. Matt Schaub vs. Tennessee
7. Eli Manning @ Philadelphia
8. Matt Ryan vs. Carolina
9. Matthew Stafford vs. Minnesota (not worried about leg strain)
10. Robert Griffin III @ Tampa Bay
11. Peyton Manning vs. Oakland
12. Tony Romo vs. Chicago
13. Christian Ponder @ Detroit
14. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New England
15. Philip Rivers @ Kansas City
16. Andy Dalton @ Jacksonville
17. Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland
18. Jake Locker @ Houston
19. Jay Cutler @ Dallas
20. Carson Palmer @ Denver
21. Kevin Kolb vs. Miami
22. Josh Freeman vs. Washington
23. Matt Cassel vs. San Diego
24. Sam Bradford vs. Seattle
25. Brandon Weeden @ Baltimore
25a. Alex Smith @ N.Y. Jets
1. Aaron Rodgers threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints in last year's Week 1 thriller, with Drew Brees, in turn, rolling for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Is it too much to ask for a reasonable facsimile of last season's output?
2. I'd be crazy to ignore Tom Brady's four-game streak of 300 yards passing and/or three touchdowns against the Bills (2010-11).
3. Cam Newton has been an elite-level fantasy quarterback since his NFL debut in 2011, but his track record against the Falcons, comparatively speaking, is a little spotty. In two games, Newton has per-outing averages of only 296 total yards, 1.5 touchdowns and 2.5 interceptions.
4. With 1-2 records, respectively, the Raiders and Broncos have incurred deficits in each of their first three games. From a fantasy standpoint, this means plenty of playing-from-behind passing from Carson Palmer (879 yards, five TD) and Peyton Manning (824 yards, five TD). It also begs the question: For their head-to-head clash in Week 4, which quarterback won't wait until the second half to post rock-solid numbers?
5. Hamburger ear aside, Matt Schaub has a tremendous home matchup against the Titans on Sunday. He also history on his side. In Schaub's last five games against Tennessee, he boasts per-outing averages of 293 yards passing and 2.4 touchdowns.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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