Week 4 for fantasy football owners should feature a number of quarterbacks in position for significant fantasy outputs, including one MVP who has mostly disappointed from a fantasy perspective through the first three weeks.
The rest of the list features an early 2012 MVP candidate, a Rookie of the Year leader, a surprise rookie from 2011 and the biggest acquisition of the 2012 offseason.
Here's an in-depth look at the top Week 4 fantasy quarterbacks, with stat line projections to boot:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
There was hesitation in putting Rodgers in the top spot, especially after three mostly average fantasy performances from last year's top quarterback to start. But the matchup against the New Orleans Saints is simply too good to ignore.
Chew on these stats: New Orleans is allowing over 260 passing yards a game, 9.1 yards an attempt and a passer rating of 101.2, each of which rank near the bottom of the NFL through three games.
This is a defense that has really struggled stopping the pass and controlling the scoreboard (giving up 34 points a game).
Rodgers and the Packers offense are too talented to keep down for long. This is a plus matchup where Rodgers should finally have one of his 2011 performances.
Projection: 323 yards, 4 TDs
2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
No quarterback has been as consistently good as Ryan, who currently has eight touchdown passes and a yards per game average of over 250 in three games in 2012.
His matchup at home with the Carolina Panthers in Week 4 should also be a plus if the career numbers are any indication.
Ryan has 12 career touchdowns against the Panthers, the most against any NFL team. In 58 career games at the Georgia Dome, Ryan has 51 touchdowns against just 17 interceptions.
Confidently start Ryan with the expectation that at least 230 yards and a couple of touchdown tosses are coming his way.
Projection: 255 yards, 3 TDs
3. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Griffin III is nine points clear of Ryan as the scoring leader at quarterback through three games. He'll likely remain in the top five of projected quarterbacks each week, regardless of matchup.
While Griffin III has cooled somewhat throwing the football (under 225 yards and just one touchdown in back-to-back games), his ability to run the football consistently makes him a fantasy football dream. The No. 2 overall pick has over 200 yards rushing, including two-straight games of at least 80 yards and one rushing touchdown.
The Buccaneers defense isn't exactly a pushover (held Tony Romo to just five points in standard ESPN leagues last week), Griffin III is too multi-faceted to be made fantasy irrelevant. He'll score in Week 4.
Projection: 299 total yards (69 rushing), 2 TDs
4. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Surprised to see Dalton's name on this list? Don't be. He's quickly emerged as a solid fantasy option in 2012, and the matchup in Week 4 is very favorable for Dalton and the Bengals passing option.
Over his last two games, Dalton has thrown for well over 600 yards and six touchdowns, with both games including 300-plus yards and three scores. In ESPN standard leagues, that equates to a top-five fantasy output in each week.
In Week 4, Dalton gets to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, who surrendered 313 yards and two touchdowns to Andrew Luck last week in Indianapolis. The Bengals, who don't run the ball particularly well, are far more dynamic in the passing game and could lean on it heavily against the Jags.
300 yards and three touchdowns might be hard to replicate for a third-straight week, but Dalton should be able to approach those numbers again in Week 4.
Projection: 260 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Manning had his top fantasy output Sunday against the Houston Texans since coming to Denver, and his date with the Oakland Raiders defense in Week 4 should be money in the bank for fantasy owners.
In the Broncos' 30-25 loss to the Texans, Manning threw for 330 yards and two scores against a top defense in the Texans. His 21 fantasy points (standard ESPN leagues) put him in the Top 10 for quarterbacks in Week 3.
The Raiders, on the other hand, allowed a whopping 384 yards and four touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger, Week 3's top fantasy quarterback.
Expect Manning to throw a significant number of times against the Raiders this week, and if history can tell the future, passing attempts should equal big fantasy numbers.
Projection: 339 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
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