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Fantasy Football Week 4 Projections: Biggest Studs and Duds

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystJanuary 15, 2015

Fantasy Football Week 4 Projections: Biggest Studs and Duds

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    We've played three weeks of the 2012 fantasy football campaign. Odds are, by this point, most fantasy owners have a pretty good feel for their team—whether it's a 3-0 juggernaut, a 2-1 squad that's gotten lucky or an 0-3 team that just can't seem to catch a break.

    With that said, no matter where you sit in the fantasy football spectrum, all teams share one thing in common: Everyone wants to set the best lineup they possibly can for Week 4.

    Whether you're dominant or a doormat, here's a look at some players that should attain stud status this week—even if it's only temporary—as well as some big names who you might want to consider giving the week off.

Stud: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (vs. NO)

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    If you needed any further proof that 2012 is the year of the Mayan apocalypse, then try this stat on for size.

    In many fantasy leagues, after three games, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ranks in the bottom third at his position in fantasy points.

    After failing to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since 2010 in Monday night's loss (that wasn't) to the Seattle Seahawks, Rodgers and the Packers will be looking to bounce back against a New Orleans Saints team that has been a reliable top 10 fantasy matchup for opposing quarterbacks this year.

Dud: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG)

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    It's been a rough 2012 season to this point for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. The 32-year-old has turned the ball over nine times in three games and played so poorly that rumors of a quarterback controversy have begun to swirl in Philly.

    Despite those turnovers, Vick's scrambling ability has helped keep his fantasy value afloat, keeping him within the top 10 fantasy signal-callers through three games.

    That may not be the case after this week, as the Eagles' issues with pass protection may be exposed once again by a New York Giants defensive front that is loaded with talent.

    Toss in the questionable availability of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and fantasy owners with other options under center would be well-served to explore them.

Stud: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (at JAX)

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    Week 3's win over the Washington Redskins was a game to forget for Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Not only did Green-Ellis rush for fewer than 2.5 yards per carry but the 27-year-old also lost the first fumble of his five-year career.

    The bruiser should rebound this week when the Bengals travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that allows the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs in many leagues. Green-Ellis could easily be called upon to chew up clock in the second half if Cincinnati gets staked to a lead.

Dud: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys (vs. CHI)

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    Up to this point in the season, fantasy owners of Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray have to be relatively disappointed with the production of the second-year running back. Murray is only averaging 90 total yards and has scored but a single touchdown so far.

    The odds of a turnaround aren't in Murray's favor this week when the Cowboys host the Chicago Bears—one of the stingiest fantasy matchups for opposing running backs this season.

Stud: Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. WAS)

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    It's been a feast or famine season for wide receiver Vincent Jackson in his first year in Tampa. The eight-year veteran sandwiched a huge Week 2 showing, in which he topped 100 yards and scored a touchdown, in between two stinkers.

    The 29-year-old wideout should have an excellent shot at hitting those benchmarks again this week when the Buccaneers face the Washington Redskins, who just gave up a huge game to Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green and have surrendered among the most fantasy points to the position in 2012.

Dud: Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. BUF)

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    The contract impasse that cost Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe nearly all of training camp and the preseason certainly doesn't seem to have adversely affected his production. The 28-year-old has racked up 15 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns over the past two games.

    With that said, the sixth-year pro will have a hard time keeping that hot streak going this week against the San Diego Chargers, who allow among the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.

Stud: Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans (vs. TEN)

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    The Houston Texans passing game usually takes a back seat to their vaunted ground game, but that doesn't mean there aren't viable fantasy contributors on the team not named Andre Johnson.

    The list includes tight end Owen Daniels, who has managed to post at least 10 fantasy points in point-per-reception fantasy football leagues in every game so far this season.

    That string of production should continue this week against the Tennessee Titans, who have given up the most fantasy points, in many leagues, to opposing tight ends so far in 2012.

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